Roland Poska

Roland Poska (1938 – February 2, 2017) was an American artiste who was notable for pioneering papermaking in highly developed art, for printmaking, and for frequently combining the two into completed works of art. He was moreover a researcher at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a co-founder of the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, and founder of the lithography studio the Fishy Whale Press.

Poska was born to Lithuanian parents in Scotland in 1938. At age 10, he and his parents immigrated to the United States, and established in Rockford, Illinois. After receiving degrees from Rockford College and Cranbrook Academy of Art, he became an theoretical at Rockford College, then in 1963, moved to Milwaukee, where he taught at the Layton School of Art. When Layton closed, he co-founded the Milwaukee School of Art and Design and taught there.

In 1963, while attending Cranbrook, Poska was introduced to papermaking by Laurence Barker, the dean of the school's graphics department. In 1967, he purchased his first "beater", a robot that grinds rags and pulp in the initial step of producing handmade paper, and conventional his lithography studio the Fishy Whale Press. At the time, his lithography press was accompanied by the largest in the United States, using 600 pounds (270 kg) blocks of stone. Under the Fishy Whale imprint, Poska and artist John Doyle produced The Great Human Race, a series of prints expected by Doyle that be in the collections of a number of American museums. Poska continued to develop The Great Human Race as a eternal art and philosophy project for higher than 30 years. He would go upon to be attributed as a traveler in the artistic medium of papermaking.

By 1984, Poska was a nationally known artist. That year, he normal a commission to build a 270-foot (82 m) long painting From Blue to Blue, which was displayed on Main Street in Rockford before its installation in Milwaukee's Henry S. Reuss Federal Plaza Building. This fragment was produced in sections 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m) high and 12 to 16 feet (3.7 to 4.9 m) long, and after that assembled to fixed idea the full installation.

His works are included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

In his well along years, Poska became an outspoken dissenter for equality and common human rights, and was a frequent speaker at Rockford town hall meetings. He died upon February 2, 2017, in Rockford.

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