Is nature nothing more than a still life, or is it inevitably part of how we see ourselves? I am interested in relationships between culture and nature, symbolism and the constructs of the imagination projected onto narratives of the idyllic landscape. Especially as we see and process information about the world as being outside ourselves, while it is only a mental representation of what we experience on the inside. I am very curious about this conceptual structure, how it created the idea of nature, art and its history.
Having lost a close relative early in my life, in painting I deconstruct rituals and stories created around the concept of death. They are driven by the deepest expression of the relationship between natural form and human design. Its elements function (in life and art) not just a relic of prehistory and primitive religions, but an important element of suppressed energy, a collective of pagan gods and goddesses in exile… For many artists, mortality was only a prologue to a new life, and they used vegetative symbolism to show spirituality and immortality, perhaps as a window into the unseen.
Slave-owning cultures leaned heavily on the myth of the Arcadian idyll and beauty. Politically beauty was used as a distraction from the self, a tearing away from the present moment, a projection. Can this be subverted by disturbing the idyll through art? Forests especially are presented as deformed and mutilated, not pure and restorative. The language acts as a key to defining the course understanding will take from the work as its starting point ( the same is true for the human body, even in a healthy individual there are no shortages of potential mutant cancer cells, there is no purity ). Purity exists as a concept, but not for ecologists, for whom everything is a relationship among a complex assemblage of factors.
By painting in oil, a medium that is seductive and loaded with historical significance, I aim to find the right questions relevant today, and dissect them through abstracted narratives. Choosing subject matter carefully I am also letting the work speak for itself. Whether it is time or method, painting is half initiative and half knowing how to let things proceed on its own.
As a Russian-born American, living in London, I find myself away from my native culture, religion and politics and living in my own exile, balanced by the extension and expansion of yoga, walking the dog, and reading.