Water, Heart, Face – Jerusalem Biennale

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(article originally posted on intlfineartfund.com.)

The Jerusalem Biennale has presented a variety of Jewish voices in the arts since 2013.  This year, the theme of “Watershed” was explored in spiritual searching, masculine Jewish identity, the relationship between church and state, and heaven and earth, among many others.  The image of the watershed, geological bodies of water that converge and separate in different places, is a metaphor for the connections and disparities between people, as well as pivotal moments in history. 

The Jerusalem Biennale will be held from October 1 – November 16, 2017.  26 Exhibitions are held throughout various locations in the city, with the work of 200 artists on display. 

We spent four days touring the exhibitions and meeting with artists to capture what is happening in the fine arts in Jerusalem.

Water, Heart, Face

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart” (Proverbs 27:19)

Curator Avital Naor Wexler describes her exhibition Water, Heart, Face as such: “It’s about the gathering of people as a reflection.  It could be a mirror, but it is water face to face.  I think that if the sentence [in Proverbs] says something about water, it says something else than the objective reflection, like in a mirror.  It has more depth.  It has more movement.”  Water is a vehicle for a variety of experiences and connections.  Naor Wexler found this to be a diverse theme for the exhibition.  The story of Narcissus comes to mind, a man obsessed with his own reflection, “but in this sentence, it talks about the heart as well.  It talks about a relationship between two people, more than one, not with yourself.  I think that it is interesting because the art is a kind of pond, a lake, something that is a reflection between the artist and the audience.”

Naor Wexler believes that when someone sees a piece of art they are drawn to what they see of themselves or the person who created the work in it.   “When you meet art the thing that attracts you is because you find yourself or you find the artist, or someone else within the work.”  She wanted to compare Narcissus and Proverbs to explore the variety of reflections in art.  “I chose several artworks that are self-portraits, but with a twist.”  The artists, or symbols of themselves, are in various emotional states with the presence of water and reflections.

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One of the works by Vered Aharanovitch features a character who she has labeled as representing herself.  This young girl is depicted in four sculptures as a mermaid within fishbowls.  Twisting and turning, drawing her own blood with sea urchins, her expressions are aloof, pained, and frustrated.  In the glass, observers see her pain as she maturing through heartache, just as they see their own face reflected.

Naor Wexler designed the exhibition to be “something that you can come and meet, and something that will come to you from the art itself.”  The question of what attracts a person to a work of art remains an open question to Wexler, one that Water, Heart, Face,provides space for.

Water, Heart, Face includes the work of: Aharon Kritzer, Alma Shneor, Carolina Bonfil, Debbie Kampel, Eliad Landau, Eliran Jan, Einat Arif-Galanti, Gideon Rubin, Merav Shin Ben-Alon, Matan Ben Tolila, Noa Arad Yairi, Renana Salmon, Shulamit Etsion, Vered Aharonovitch, Yoni Salmon, Yifat Shtainmetz Hirst.  See the exhibition, and several others, as 12 Bezeq Building, Chopin Street, Jerusalem.

Artwork: Aharon Kritzer, Vered Aharanovitch

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Alfred Manessier: A Composer in Colors

manessier-l'emprisonnement

Alfred Manessier: Composer in Colors is a part of the current roster of travelling exhibitions from Bowden Collections.  The collection includes twenty of Manessier’s lithographs, all of which give the impression that he really was a composer.  The French artist’s work was labeled Lyrical Abstraction (Abstraction Lyrique) in the Post World War II art world of the mid 1940s.  Manessier painted with a quality of life and movement, images like music playing before your eyes.

The strokes of the paintbrush appear to vibrate.  Both dark and bright shapes have energy.  In some images, there is a sense of push and pull between the two.  In “L’emprionnement,” dark and muddy shapes bar colors that refuse to stop dancing under oppression.  This is this balance of dire darkness and hope throughout the exhibition.  Images composed from the lighter end of the spectrum don’t lack the strength of these depictions of conflict.  The energy of the colors is bold and hangs in a different kind of balance.

While Manessier was not a musical composer, his sense of energy in colors may have come from his work as a stained-glass artist.  Manessier’s windows were, like these lithographs, non-figurative.  The curving black outline of each pane was filled with an ambiguous shape.  The effect of sunlight shining through the panes energizes the colors and their sense of movement.

Learn more about the Bowden Collection and where exhibitions, like this, are travelling next here.

A Pregnancy Journal in Paintings

LBurns51-54:200

“51-54/200”

Fort Worth, Texas artist Lael Burns told International Fine Art Fund about her visual pregnancy journal.  Burns uploads the daily images to her instagram.  She is expecting her third child.

Your journal is an interesting project.  What inspired you to do this?

“I love the metaphors shared between experiencing the growth of human life alongside the growth of a body of work.  On the practical side, I wanted the discipline of a set of daily works to help me get working again after the challenges of early pregnancy.  I also took a break from my normal body of work at the beginning of the year to focus more on other things and felt really disconnected from those pieces when I went back to address them again later, and I’ve found that these daily paintings have inspired new vision for them.”

 

Have there been major differences between each child’s series of work?

“I’ve made a body of work with each of my pregnancies and they each coincided as a natural development with what I had been working on prior.  It’s just meaningful to go back later and see certain pieces that I knew I made while pregnant with each child.  I feel like this particular set of daily pregnancy journal paintings has the most deliberate association with the ideas of pregnancy to growth, new life, and spiritual rebirth.”

 

How does the artwork compare to work that you make when you are not pregnant?

“It all flows together really and comes from a similar place.  I was wanting to make something with these though that was a direct correlation to this particular pregnancy that reflects not just this child, but the current spiritual season of the life of my family.  There’s something powerful about the spiritual season each of my children have been born in and to see how certain things in my life seem to manifest upon their arrival into the world.  That’s why it’s so important the name we give each child, that it reflects who they are and the spiritual season they develop and are born in, and similarly I can look back at my work from those seasons as a memorial of things God had been doing at the time.”

 

Tell me about the show that you are currently a part of.

“The show I was just recently in was a pop up show they celebrated the one year anniversary of an art collective I show work with from time to time called Art Tooth.  It was a collaborative show of Art Tooth artists as well as other art collectives in the Forth Worth area.”

What is next for your art? 

“I will have work in an alumni show coming up soon and I’ll also have my work published with Peripheral Vision Arts this fall in their Salon 2017 issue, both of which I’m really excited about.  I’ve been taking a more laid back approach this year as far as showing my work with all the changes going on.  I’m focusing on getting the work finished that I have going on right now before this baby comes.”

Burns is also embarking on a new venture of turning her sculptural works into plushes.  Check them out @plush.pods

laelburns.com

#art #fineart @lael_burns_studio #painting #paintings #pregnancy #pregnant #mom #creative #artoftheday

Phil Irish – Trashing Mountains

extPhil Irish has continually explored spirituality and the human relationship with natural spaces since 2004.  Mixed media, oil paint on panels, and digital elements in each of his exhibitions evolved into Trashing Mountains in 2014.  This ongoing project conveys the immense presence of nature, as well as the weight and depth of its modification.

 

Our rapidly paced world is draining natural resources, driving many people to dismay.  While Irish shares the feeling of horror, his artwork opens space for reflection on the potential for destruction to lead to new growth.  Irish feels that mountains and oceans have an archetypal quality that resonates within us, and he asks, “How does the mountain provide a foil for thinking through where we are headed as a culture?”

 

Irish’s earlier works explored the relationship between humans and nature beginning with the sentimental series Maps in 2005.  Irish invited people to draw him maps that led to emotionally resonant locations.  He followed these paths and, if he had a significant experience in the space himself, created artwork inspired by the locale and its stories.  “Interaction with, or symbolic interpretation of landscape has been a constant thread throughout my work,” says Irish.  “The map paintings are about how memory imbues specific places with meaning.  All of the maps come from other people—so it is also an exploration of empathy.  How do I understand someone else’s story? When I visit the place of their memory, do our experiences overlap? Or are they contradictory?”

 

In his 2010 series Growth Charting, Irish painted disruptive, sharp strokes over serene floral images.  The effect creates a tug-of-war between what is natural and what is introduced by human hands.  The synthetic lines and swirls are at once separate and a part of the images.

 

The thread between these works, human experiences within natural spaces, comes to a violent head in Irish’s project Trashing Mountains.  While Growth Charting was a step in this direction with bright, daring strokes, the works that have come out of Trashing Mountains are far larger and mostly sculptural.  Irish has traded wood panel for foil and sliced canvas away from its frame to drape and mold the resolute symbol of the mountain with ease.

 

In the exhibitions Precipice and mount pile, elements of a traditional landscape are distorted.  They communicate how the natural environment has been disturbed by destructive human interaction.  Irish’s use of foil as a canvas allows the familiar to become strange, just as formerly stable characteristics of our planet are changing around us.  The Polar icecaps steadily melt, and Siberia’s permafrost thins.  The majestic, awe-inspiring aspects of our planet are shifting and deteriorating.  In Irish’s work, Rockwell-esque renderings of mountain tops are warped, the symbol of strength distorted with a disturbing ease.  Other works, like “Peak,” are collections of jagged images forming a chaotic whole.  Devices that are used to deplete the earth of its resources have razor toothed jaws and loom in an ominous silence.  In “Eruption,” fire somehow overcomes water, the orange, red, and black shapes pierce the placid blue as if it never stood a chance.

 

As Trashing Mountains evolves, Irish sees his vision tapering in its focus and expanding visually. “The project started in Banff, at the Banff Centre [in Alberta, Canada.]  The first major exhibition was at the Gladstone Hotel, then Trashing Mountains at the Durham Art Gallery.  These exhibitions used most of the same elements, but in very different contexts.  In the hotel, the installation wasn’t so much distinct compositional structures as a continuous immersive experience—it started from the lobby, and rose up the grand stairs all the way to the 4th floor.  The viewer would progress from the oil sand, up through the lived experiences of our culture, and arriving at the top with the grand spectacle of the mountain peak.”  Precipice was held in a smaller space, which Irish felt was integral to Trashing Mountains.  He calls it a “condensed statement” where painting on aluminum was a technical focal point.

 

mount pile, on view until August 13th at the Art Gallery of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, is a culmination of the larger and small exhibition experiences.  “mount pile brings these two ways of working together.  One room is installation format, while the other room is entirely metal constructions.  mount pile also has a more exuberant palette—I was getting bored of blue, white, yellow, and black, which had dominated Precipice.  It was exciting to lean into pinks, oranges, and even rainbows!”

 

While the violence of global warming obviously strikes a chord within Irish, he also raises a hopeful question: Maybe destruction is a phase leading to new possibilities?

 

“It can be difficult to bring a hopeful angle into something as critical to our culture as global warming.  In some ways, one doesn’t want to—because it can lead to complacency.  But, actually, ‘doomsday’ messaging can also lead to complacency, because it is completely overwhelming.  You hear activists speaking about this issue.  That it is important to tell the stories of positive change, that change is not only possible but is taking its infant steps.”

 

Irish cites “The Prophetic Imagination” by Walter Brueggemann as a providing an example of positive change coming from shocking incidents.  “He talks about the Hebrew prophets having to jolt awake people’s imaginations, which had been compromised by the messages of the Empire.  This is very much our situation today, where we don’t believe a better world is possible—we have absorbed the complacency of our ‘first world’ entitlement, and aren’t willing to take any risks.”  Spiritual rebirth has an invasive, violent aspect because it is a process of destruction to rebuild the self from within.  It is painful, but the result is positive new growth.  “The other part of the prophet’s task is to offer a vision of something new.  And the idea that destruction can lead to new perspectives and new directions is a rich one—look, for instance, at the Gutai art movement in Japan after the devastation of the second world war.”

 

When asked what came first, the focus on destruction or question of possibility, Irish says both.  “In the presence of the mountains, it is hard not to be stirred, to be optimistic, to think of something larger than humanity.  But that, by itself, becomes a naive story.  Both parts are needed to be truthful.”

 

Currently, Irish is sailing on an ice breaker in the arctic in the midst of an artist’s residency at the Vermont Studio Center.  He’s been painting red winged black birds and letting the awe of artic ice inspire him.  “You’ll be seeing arctic ice in my future paintings, as well as something with birds….”

 

Keep up with Irish here:

 

@phil.irish_artist

philirish.com

Art Gallery of Guelph

 

Skogens Rymd

Mantle

“Mantle”

“Well, I think I´m going to say an obvious thing, but nature is so rich that is impossible not to be inspired,” says Allesia Brusco, aka Skogens Rymd.  Her painterly title means “the space of the forest” in Swedish, telling of the world that she captures on the canvas.  The artist has made a name for herself by creating images inspired by natural phenomena that hold the spirit of ancient myths.  Each painting is a Nordic landscape.  The ebb, flow, and creshendo of an epic tale is found in the depth and lights of colors, the movement of celestial bodies, and the steadfast presence of a dense forest.

The classical landscape is a benign image, some may even call the genre boring.  Few artists have presented the landscape, an image that appreciates forms in nature, with a sense of awe that is on the cusp of otherworldly.  (Thomas Uttech is another artist who successfully put his own spin on the genre).  Skogens Rymd became an internet sensation because she presents nature as she sees it interacting with her wealths of knowledge in various subjects.

Bringing new life into the landscape, the paintings gained popularity over social media culminating in Brusco’s current show at Gallery Marcus in Ystad, Skåne, Sweden (https://www.instagram.com/gallerymarcus/)

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While she finds inspiration in the sky in Southern Sweden, the artist is originally from Northern Italy.  She was always an avid reader, managing to “devour” a book in a manner of hours.  Reading Tolkien spurred an interest in ancient and medivel studies, in which she has holds a degree.  “I´ve read a lot of medieval literature from many countries, mostly Italy, England, France, Spain and Scandinavia. I really like novels from Nordic writers,” her favorites being among Sigrid Undset, Knut Hamsun, Selma Lagerlöf, Arto Paasilinna, Jón Kalman Stefanssón, Fridtjof Nansen, and Mikael Niemi.  Philosophy, anthropology, and archeology are also of interest to Brusco.  All of her studies feed her artistry.  “Sometimes I add a quote, under the title of my paintings, coming from a book that gave me something I wanted to transform in an image.”

inner space

“Inner Space” 

Sweden is her creative home, in a sense.  “I´ve always been fascinated by this culture and I felt at once home here and inspired by everything I paint.  The sky is so clear here in the countryside that I started to look at the stars more often.  Obviously not only the culture I got from books, but many of the legends and the environment here helped me to start to paint on December 2015.”

It is no surprise that Brusco feels quite at home in her landscapes.  “Where I was born, in the northwest of Italy, there is a lot of nature and I lived in little town by the sea.  Here in Sweden the nature is of course more dominant and I like it very much.  I really feel good in the countryside with not so many people, cars, buildings, and noises. When I have to come back to Italy, each time I just get to the train station or the airport, it´s like a little trauma to come back in a big city and I feel quite misplaced.”  The details of her paintings come from what I imagine to be a peaceful study of her surroundings.  “What really inspire me are the colors of the sky at dusk or dawn.  There are so many tones that most of the  times is so difficult to reproduce because the human eye is lured to think that, for example, a kind of pink is warmer but when you try it on the canvas it has another effect.”

 

About the Artwork:

lullaby

I painted “Lullaby” without thinking at the title in the first place. I just wanted to experiment an Aurora Borealis with pink/violet colours and make it appear like a veil. When I finished it, in a way I perceived it like dreamish, like a veil in the sky and I thought it could be so nice to fall asleep under such a sky.

isfruns vag

“Isfrun väg” takes the name from the Lady of the Cold in a novel by Tove Jansson from the Moomin serie. The book is called “Trollvinter” in swedish (translated as “Moominland Midvinter”) and describes the adventure lived by Moomintroll who wakes up from hibernation and experiences the winter for once with some of his friends. During the winter, strange and dangerous creatures come out from their hiding places and the Lady of the Cold is one of them.  She rides around freezing and killing everything with her icy stare. I´ve read again the book before Christmas and I had the idea to try to paint her my way with her dress like Northern Lights.

http://skogens-rymd.webnode.com 

Instagram 

 

 

 

Matti Sirvio

Matti Sirvio encounter-900

“Encounter”

In Matti Sirvio’s paintings there is time and space, the movement of the soul.  His paintings simultaneously celebrate the felt senses, the beauty in life, and the nature of a spiritual existence. “I think that colors and their composition are the key to all visual communication.  I love connecting them, experimenting the way that they relate to each other.  I sometimes do just long color meditations (sounds much more weird than it is.)”  With his eyes closed, Sirvio spends time envisioning colors and diverse patterns.  “It helps me to move objects and see how certain colors serve certain messages.”

On Sirvio’s Instagram account, it is sometimes hard to tell what is a painting and what is a photo.  The play of shadow and light on a building, cast-off objects in the sand, appear at first to be Sirvio’s painted works.  Upon closer inspection, you see that they are all pieces of the quiet town of Muscat, Oman.  In compositions that most people can witness every day without reverence, the artist sees more.

For over thirty-five years, Sirvio has been a humanitarian worker through Greater Grace World Outreach (GGWO) in Eurasia and Central Asia.  While he treasures the many places that he has lived in, Oman is now home.  “I fell in love with the Omani people.  They are very gentle, silent and friendly. For some foreigners, this country is eventless and even boring.  For me it’s a privilege.”  Fourteen years ago, he attended a conference on Mumbai, India.  Through contacts there, the opportunity to work in Oman presented itself.  It would take some years for Sirvio’s schedule to allow for him to work in Oman with GGWO.  When he was able to visit for a conference, he also found a place for his artwork.  “I was invited by the Protestant Church of Oman to do a weekend conference in Muscat.  I often travel with my art and also work in hotel rooms during my travels.  I took some of my paintings to a local gallery and connected with them.  That resulted in a solo exhibition here.”

“My artistic journey has its intensive creative times and long times of silence as well.”  Sirvio was born and raised in Finland where he studied art.  He originally wanted to purse becoming an art therapist.  But, as a young man he felt called to humanitarian work and as an artist, he felt disconnected from the art world.  “As a young person, I found the art world to be extremely selfish and self-oriented.  Besides that, I had a really hard time connecting with all the perverted art that started spreading in the seventies.  I didn’t want to be a part of it.”  Deep into his journey as a humanitarian worker art would re-emerge for him in a way that was healing.  “Twenty-seven years later I was full of art again. I just had to start painting.  I didn’t have a choice.  It didn’t just make me happy, but it helped me to manage my soul.  Art is not the most important thing in my life, the presence of God is.  Art is a helper.”

The painting “Encounter” communicates a spiritual way of experiencing what comes and goes.  The spiritual is a constant, a thread woven through every part of life.  The soul need not suffer when something meaningful ends, but have joy for the impression that was left and for the meaningful encounters that will also come and go in the future.

Two figures are in the shape of doorways, each one emitting some of kind of movement.  The one on the left appears to contain light, while the shape on the right is red.  The light feels like a spiritual force, while the red is earthy, human.  The two are open to each other to mingle, to merge, but the temporal of nature of the “Encounter” implies that they will each return to their spaces and close their doors.

These colors and symbols illustrate the nature of an encounter from a spiritual perspective.  A person can form a lasting attachment to an experience after it has passed, returning to themselves, yet remaining somehow changed.  Also, the joy of the peak of the moment does not have to turn into despair because it ends.  If there is more to life than moments, then there is no need to mourn what is lost but celebrate what remains and what will be part of the never-ending life of the soul.

In Sirvio’s paintings, there are dreams, prayers, scents, and sensations.  The artist is a deeply spiritual person who clearly has a reverence for life.  “I love all the places where I have lived. God gives you a special love for it. Without that I could not see myself connecting with other cultures and people.”  He is writing a book about the GGWO ministry Central Asia and paints in his spare time.  “I continue dragging my paintings all over the world, exhibiting them wherever I can and praying that I could reach one more person with the love of Jesus.”

mattisirvio.com 

 

Lael Burns

LBurnsSecretPlace

“Secret Place”

Lael Burns’ artwork is delicate dance.  The murky, fleshy shapes and celestial glitter bodies tell a story of opposites that interact.  It is a painful struggle.  Within the intricacy of this exchange, of these gruesome and pleasing elements, there is beauty.

“Making art has always been a way for me to process life and is just something that ‘clicked’ with me from early on,” says Burns, who lives and works in the Fort Worth, Texas area.  The shapes in Burns’ artwork developed in her childhood.  “I used to have this huge magnolia tree in my yard growing up, and the buds that fall off the tree fascinated me.  In middle school, I started drawing them and thinking about other biological and organic forms as a representation of my inner self, so it’s a means of communication and expression I adopted that I still use.”  Burns placed a high value on her creativity from a young age, due to support from her family and teachers.  Art became a necessity in her young life.  “When I was in middle school I feel like I really turned to art as means of survival during some dark family circumstances and just never stopped making.”

LBurnsTheBlessing

“The Blessing”

Viewing much of what Burns creates is an experience of repugnance and awe.  Confronted with an element that is ugly and strange, it is hard to look away from its relation to what is beautiful.  Organic forms in her current work are like wombs and gnarled roots, an outpouring of her psyche and spirit that comes from a deeply spiritual place.  The lure of darkness and the pursuit of connection to God are ever-present themes.  This duality of existence is shown as the visual layers of human nature and the spirit.  On the canvas, the distorted being (human nature) still possesses the spark of true life (spirit) that will remain after death and presently reaches for connection with the heavenly realm.

LBurnsProcessofBelivingBeauty

“The Process of Believing Beauty”

What has had a powerful effect on her canvases is the renewal of Burns’ soul at the age of twenty-seven when she pursued Christian faith.  Like the tension between what is ugly and beautiful, the past and the present are relevant aspects of what the artist communicates with forms.  “I think much of my work prior to this major change was dealing with similar ideas and themes.  I was just on the other side of it. I was heavily steeped in church and Christianity growing up, but I was angry and running from Christ, whereas now my work is a picture of a person finally yielded to and remade by Christ.”  There is a heavy sense of matter in the bulbous forms that rise from the page.  Bright airy clouds and shrouds of smoke balance the weight.  The colors, and glitter accents, harken to the light in the soul.  “The most exciting, driving aspect of my work to me now is continuing to experience healing and deliverance from God and watching how that plays out visually. It’s a process that will continue until I die.”

Burns’ life is also a balance, one that she approaches with a spiritual flow.  She is a wife, mother of two small children, and manages to dive deeply into the creative process while they nap or play outside.  While motherhood often pulls artists away from their practice, Burns found balance in an at-home residency and support network for mothers.  “I did a 6 month long residency with An Artist Residency in Motherhood which really helped reframe the way I was thinking about my work after I had our second child and I stopped working.”  Burns was formerly a high school art teacher.  “It was a big adjustment to go from working full time and being away from my children so much, to being home all the time with then a newborn and a toddler. It was a big adjustment emotionally and for my studio practice, but such a good one.”  Some sessions meant creating with the kids, while others were fruitful moments like the ones that she finds in her day now.  ARIM helped her set the tone for being a creative person and a mother.  “[It] helped me get in contact with other artist mothers and reinvent a studio practice that works with my situation once my daughter got a little older.”

LBurnsRevival's Seed8

“Revival’s Seed 8”

Burns now homeschools both children while maintaining her studio practice.  She does not keep a rigid creative schedule, but lets her studio time fall into a unique pattern each day. She often works on several pieces, assembly-line style, somehow knowing what each different piece needs at the same time.  It is unconventional, but helps her maintain a certain level of productivity.  The process is successful, considering that new pieces are frequently popping up on her Instagram account.

Burns’ current sculptural exhibit at Fort Worth’s Art 7 Gallery is wrapping up soon.  The artist will continue to find inspiration in the spiritual aspects of her life and seek balance one day at a time.  “You’re only going to be able to get so much done if you are with your children, and I’ve just made peace with that.  I’m learning and enjoying this season of less structure and just ‘going with the flow’ and staying in the place of joy and freedom.  I know it’s so cliché, but my children will only be little this one time and I want to enjoy it.”

Learn more about Lael here:

Laelburns.com

Art for a Cause

forever-everlasting_staticmedium_mna_smallInternational Fine Art Fund board member and fine artist Hilary White is expanding her Made New Arts program to the Alachua County Department of Juvenile Detention.  White launched the first Made New Arts program with Ignite Refuge and Partnership for Strong Families in a Gainesville, FL shelter.  She documents the progress of the youth program on the Made New Arts blog.  White, who is passionate about offering people a constructive outlet for their experiences, is now planning to teach art classes in the Juvenile Detention Facility in Alachua.  There, she plans to facilitate weekly classes, mural projects, and showings of the artwork within the facility.

To get involved in the formation of this program, visit White’s blog.  The print pictured above is being sold, with 100% of the proceeds going toward purchasing art supplies for Made New Arts at the Alachua County Department of Juvenile Detention.  These prints are limited, so keep an eye on the website for more works to benefit the expansion of Made New Arts.

TJRisen

Risen

“My main mode of expression, and the most present element of my visual vocabulary, is the line. It’s a flow of uninterrupted force that travels from me to the paper.”  Tatjana Jovancevic

works on paper to build complex concepts into forms.   The mode of her line work interacts with her overarching theme of being uprooted early in her life.   While focusing on the experience of being torn away, the forced loss of innocence, Jovancevic also finds continuity and new life.

In 1991, Jovancevic was an exchange student, from what was then Yugoslavia, when she came to the United States.  A war broke out in her home country, so she stayed in the US to complete her education.  Every facet of this deeply painful experience is present in her artwork.

“The war in my home country stripped me of my sense who I am.  I lost my home, community, and personal items that were extension of who I was,” says Jovancevic.  Going beyond the surface layer of the trauma, she gained a spiritual perspective on the reality of loss.  “Looking back, and ahead as well, I feel I was being watched over and guided.  In losing material things, I became aware of how we attach ourselves to the impermanent and fleeting.  It led me to seek something that cannot vanish at the will of men, or weather or war.  In losing, I gained a new identity and my faith.”

falsestarts

False Starts

It took years for Jovancevic to invest more time in her creative gifts.  Art became a way for her to express both the unique and universal aspects of being torn away from her home.  Some of her work depicts abstract representations of landscapes from her upbringing.  “Dublje” and “Duboko” are hearty, earthy forms, with the latter floating on something like fire.

The feeling of “False Starts” is envisioned as a leaf with many red stitches, each one ended with its own knot.  Each new beginning is a thread, meant to be continuous, but painfully chocked to a close instead.  It is the experience of searching but never finding.

Risen” depicts a black coldness out of which fire and light rise to the surface.  Jovancevic uses color and the intentional direction of each line to convey the feeling of moving through pain and back into light, emerging restored.w

“In my work I attempt to process our impermanence, and also the heaviness of human existence.  The tension between good and evil, light and darkness,” the artist states.  “At the same time I want to capture the concept of grace and love, to visually embody something that’s abstract and yet concrete at the same time.”  Faith also has an influence on some of her work, and is at times a part of the creative process itself.  “Some of my works are based on the verses which sometimes come up for me before the drawing.  On other occasions, I will create and the verse will come up after the fact.  It’s a constant dialogue and a form of an ongoing prayer.”

TJ2

Boneyard

Jovancevic also creates installation works, which she calls ‘interventions.’  Her installations often use outdoor settings.  “I always wanted for my drawings to come alive, and taking it outside the studio seemed like a natural progression.”  Jovancevic has worked on natural waterways, as well as in the snow.  “There are intangible things that draw me to work on a site.  Interventions that I created outdoors were influenced by the materials I saw around me, but also the ‘feel’ of the place. It just felt right to become the canvas to draw on.”  One site-specific work, “Generations” and a series of works titled “Goodbye” were created in her grandmother’s house in Serbia.  There, she says, “the connection was more emotional. It was my attempt to say good bye to the old house, the past and part of family history.”

In 2015 Jovancevic took part in the Colorado Art Ranch Residency program.  While there, she utilized natural materials to create sculpture works, and to ‘draw’ on the earth, in a sense.  Instead of building lines on a page, Jovancevic created lines with the placement of sun bleached sticks, and built forms with stones in contrasting dark and light hues.  The effect harkened to her works on paper, but had a new energy.  “Being in the new environment and the vast expanse of space made an impact.  Prior to being there, my site-specific interventions were smaller in scale and tied to my surroundings.  Being in a new landscape and having a gift of time to explore elevated my work to a new level.”

Jovancevic currently resides in Chicago, Illinois where she continues to explore the weight and depth of the human experience.

http://www.tatjanajovancevic.com 

Images courtesy of the artist.

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Kirsten Van Mourick

 

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“The Psalm”

“A concept that I am always attempting to wrestle into my pieces is the presence of God.  Since I believe that we were created in his image, and that community is one of the most important ways that we learn about and experience Him, I long to communicate the way we participate with Him when we make our lives worship.”  Perhaps the strongest representation of these combined ideas is Van Mourick’s painting “Communion.”  What appears to be a quaint picnic scene at first glance reveals itself to be a gathering of individuals sharing bread and wine.  These are elements traditionally representative of the body and blood of Jesus Christ when consumed within church walls.  The blanket is almost liquid, like fabric floating on air.  The surreal surroundings, the ritual bread and wine, transform a commonplace activity into something that isn’t quite of this world…

Read more on the International Fine Art Fund Blog

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“Communion”

vanmostudio.com