Monday, August 20, 2012

"More matter with less art" (William Shakespeare, "Hamlet")

When art is over. 24"×30" (61.0×76.2 cm). Oil on canvas. June 2012
The title of this work, "When art is over", tends to be misleading in English – of course, nobody would recognize the roughly translated quote from one the most important poems of my life, by Boris Pasternak. In Russian, too, the poem deliberately overthrows all versions of "art worship" and "art for art's sake" illusions, any "finesse" and refinements of fine arts. The poet feels like a gladiator sent to the stage of the Colosseum – not to act, but to die in earnest. And that's when art is over – only matter and fate remain. 

I have just completed the first stage of a major website overhaul, and put this work there as its "featured" image. It began in 2009, as a plain impressionist-like floral, and over years gradually turned into something much more complex conceptually and meaningful (for me, at least). As more and more stylistic layers were partly covering one another on this canvas, I was gradually stripping away the artificial in my work and approaching the real: that real stage, where one doesn't act artfully, but is prepared to die in earnest.     

Against the stormy gusts of winter day. 20"x20".
Although the website now displays many new, recent works, its structural changes may seem superficial: a new gallery structure and an update of "text" pages. For me, however, this update is one of the first signs of something very important: gluing back together two parts of my life, the first attempt at synthesis of my life as a scholar and my life as a painter. That's the deep reason behind the new "Not a CV" page, and also for this portrait of my father in the portfolio. You see, these two sides of my life are separated even by different names: I used my father's surname as a linguist, and I am using my husband's surname as a painter. I needed an artificial divide to jump into the new life, but now it is beginning to feel as a hindrance. To go any further, I need to bring it all back together.   
Post a Comment