JOHN REGIS TUSKA:
A Man for All Times
A close examination of the lifetime achievements of John Regis Tuska and those comments he made regarding his work might lead one to believe that, beyond his extraordinary art that was at all times changing and expanding, he was a man ever reaching, ever questioning, never satisfied. It seemed to be, as with many great artists, the fire that fueled the genius. Consider his words: “We bear the entire world of man’s history on our shoulders and this helps make it difficult to view objects in terms of our own time and century.”
That he drew brilliantly from past masters…most prominently from those artists of the Renaissance period and, interestingly, the Cubist period…is obvious yet he seems to have used those tenets of art only to expand his own. But the culling of the past to elucidate his techniques of the present seems not to have been enough for Tuska the teacher. Reading his comments on those pieces he created, one gets a sense that his reaching was not only an exercise to further create but was set down as inspiration for his students. And inspire he did. The rich images he conveyed when dealing with the yet unformed conveys the mystic in the artist. For he seemed to take on other worlds as he grasped for meaning and expression in his own material world and his own sentient summaries of the here and now. Although prolific in several media and one who held high standards to each, from his writings one might conclude he had only scratched the surface. Non basta una vita, meaning “one life is not enough”, was his mantra as he neared the end of his life.
Beyond the legacy of the astounding creations left by John Regis Tuska are his profound philosophies and reaching that he bequeaths to posterity. To whichever art category John Regis Tuska is relegated by current or future critics, his works are that of a master and should be considered one of the greats of the last Millennium.
Ellen Everman Deaton
Arts Across Kentucky