Q: Super interested in your pallet. Does it reflect a time period?
A: it does. I always think back to the 90s, the post Berlin Wall Ukraine: lots of mud, dust and concrete with occasional bright spot from a coveted imported plastic bag or a fake designer sweatshirt. All manner of brown grays with a sudden scream of neon green or extra saturated fuchsia.
Great question! Made me actually realize that this is precisely where my palette comes from. And I always thought it came from 19th century realism with a touch of Die Brücke...
Q: have you ever thought to use objects to paint on that are not canvas/board, or picked other shaped besides squares and rectangles?
A: I have considered it and while I have seen outstanding examples of merging of painting and sculpture, I am not compelled to create those myself. At least not right now while I am still interesting in figurative representational painting.
I thoroughly enjoy the suspension of disbelief that the idea of a painting provides within the context of the Western art tradition. It’s akin to a theater stage which, one the actors enter it, transcends its nature and becomes an opening to a different world, providing a platform for imagination to unfold. I want to make my supports as non-self aware as they can be, as to make them all by invisible and simply provide that very stage for, hopefully, magic within.
Q: Have you ever felt that there is something that needs to be said? Or some hidden/past that can be revived?
A: There is an element of reluctantly indulged nostalgia in my work. I am repeatedly drawn to images taken around the time I was a child. I think a lot of my interest in the late Soviet and post-Soviet time is purely selfish and self focused. I want to re-live, re-experience my childhood. I want to understand the larger time and epoch when it happened. But ultimately it’s my memory and longing for a child-like perception of the world that dictates my reference choices.
Q: I think Americans react to something in your work, but obviously won’t understand the references. What do you think others are getting from your work and does it matter?
A: I am deeply invested in using reference that are important, relevant and meaningful to me. I am certain they don’t communicate directly with an American audience, especially if my viewers aren’t too familiar with Soviet/Post-Soviet environs.
I don’t expect to have a universal appeal or deliver some manner of pan-cultural message, yet perhaps the limited palette, my muted color choices, and interactions between the figures and the environment can convey a certain sense of unease, unfinished transition, unsettling chance and displacement.
Q: what does the material mean to you? How does this relate to your content?
A: My material is supreme. I am all about paint, the act of painting. The malleability, the unpredictability as well as ability to describe form exactly, to represent the light and create veritable shadows... I am in love with paint!
I’ve always wanted to paint. My content is just something that holds my attention well and long enough to indulge in the luxury of smearing paint around.
Q: Have you considered creating a series, a story that pulls the viewer in?
A: The show I have up right now is strongly unified by content. Thematically and visually ti’s a series. I am not interested in shifting my mode of depiction to explore a looser and more ambiguous manner of representation and once I feel like I am getting close to what I am aiming for, I’ll make a series of painting strongly connected by the visual stylistics as well as content.
Q: can a painting capture or take further the idea of preservation that treats paint not as a preservative but as blocks of raw intensities. (raw = the light of a moment or a gust of wind on a particular day)
A: Oh, do I dearly wish for raw intensity. I certainly do! I want the abandon of gesture, yet at the same time I need, absolutely have to improve my representational skills. Perhaps I’ve been focusing on accuracy too much and it’s time to indulge in some abandon.
Vermeer and de Kooning on the same surface... Not too high of a goal for after two and a half years of painting, right?
Q: When piecing together a picture plane with some recognizable elements and blurred edges/spaces, I wonder what (content-wise) surface? Similarly, what is cut out and/or reassembled?
A: Sometimes there are new elements that emerge, say, glowing underpainting suggesting smoldering fire, etc, but usually once I’ve decided loosely on the composition, the content takes on the guiding, yet secondary role and the painting becomes an exercise in paint handling and formal decision making.
Q: is the abstraction and ambiguity you seem after in your work related to the politics tied to your process, or do they want reconciliation?
A: I feel like abstraction and ambiguity has more chances of transcending the very specific time and place and have more universal psychological impact. I also don’t want to come across as preachy and insisting on a particular solution. I am more concerned with intimate individual experience and how it’s effected by the larger political forces.
Q: I wonder about the absence and what the conceptual element of that human missing from a landscape would bring if you followed it?
A:I am interested in inclusion of this “absent” figure into my compositions, but I want to sue it sparingly, perhaps as a part of an otherwise well articulated body. I think this combination of cut out shape superimposed over landscape, coupled with a thoroughly described figure can offer a lot of interesting tension.