September 29, 2010


Sometimes, it turns out that several very important things may take place in a short period. This happened to my friend, who broke up with her husband, found a new job, bought a new apartment, and started collecting art in the amount of time that has got to be some kind of a record. Some people might need a couple of years to go through all that, but my friend did it in three months. She is very dynamic, and has a love of life.

I would like to tell you how she bought a sculpture of a Dutch sculptor. I got a phone call one time, and the voice on the other end of the line said “What do you think is more important – a mattress and a bed, or a sculpture? I can only really afford one of the two.”

When it comes to art, I don’t give very good advice. The only thing I could come up with is asking the owner of the gallery for a discount. This was taking place during the annual exhibition at the Convention Centre, and there was only a bit of time before it would end. The atmosphere was tense. My friend left work early that day, and ran off to purchase art.

I got another phone call, and, this time, the voice said “I didn’t buy anything”.

It turned out that my friend had been treated very rudely. Rudely and indecently. I don’t even want to describe what they’d said to their potential client.

This incident made such a negative impression on me, but it didn’t curb my friend’s enthusiasm for beautiful things. You should see her eyes when she’s buying art. So much passion! The genie has been let out of the bottle. If this genie had unlimited financed, modern artists wouldn’t be able to remain starving. And Toronto would probably boast one more modern art gallery.

September 27, 2010

Capturing the elusive spirit

Since I believe there is always room for improvement in your craft, I like to consult some knowledgeable people before I begin a new project. By this I mean that I take an immense amount of reading material out from the library.
I did this before I started a blog, and I did this before I tried taking photos of three-dimensional object (namely, my sculptures). While blogging depends mainly on your ability to describe things that interest you in a colourful way, taking photos requires a real sacrifice. It’s not even about having a big, fancy camera, or the ability to make good use of Photoshop. It’s about the object you’re photographing, and it’s about practicing.

It feels to me like the objects resist being photographed. They don’t exactly move, or make silly faces. It’s something more subtle. For example, I finished the photoshoot with my dog sculpture pretty quickly, and I am very satisfied with it, but the birds just wouldn’t come out right. The magic isn’t there. From the photos, you can’t really see that the birds are a little bit like totem animals. You can’t see that they are cheerful. You can’t see anything essential, despite the amount of effort it took me, hanging over them from various angles. It didn’t matter how much I’ve experimented with the lighting. The birds just look so ordinary on the photos. Or maybe that’s just the way I see it.

September 25, 2010

A Sculpture Reader

Everyone’s talking about the crisis in modern visual arts, but I believe that their fears are greatly exaggerated. Sure, many artists seem to exploit old ideas. Sure, many artists have gotten caught up in developing their art form for its own sake. However, each artist is part of a society that’s been influenced by so many people that have been part of it. Naturally, the art that is produced in a particular society will have at least some components that have been borrowed from the previous generations.

Oddly enough, right now I find the most interesting ideas in sculpture. Take, for example, Regina Frank. It’s difficult to call her work “sculpture” in its purest sense. There are also elements of installation and performance. As far as composition, her art can be compared to classic Greek sculpture. You can see it in the graceful lines and the elegant gestures. Also, there is Magdalena Jetelova. Her works are saturated with drama and conflict. At the same time, they are succinct, containing paradoxical philosophical ideas.
There is a type of sculpture that I don’t get at all. It has several distinct characteristics. One common feature is a heap of misshapen objects, whose collective form is reminiscent of an enlarged pile of dog poop. Another one involves carelessly scrambled human and/or animal body parts – this is probably supposed to make you think of the inevitable things in life, or something. Also, often featured in this type of sculpture are metallic pieces, which are slightly rusted, as if they’ve been exposed to the weather.
To end on a positive note – I also love Christo and Jeanne-Claude!

September 24, 2010

Sculpting Challenges

When I was a teenage art school student, we had some opportunities to visit the studios of our teachers. One day, my friend and I came to our sculpture teacher’s studio. His exhibition had just finished, and some of the unsold pieces were returned to him.

Something that made a strong impression that time was the figure of a woman with her nose broken off (and, strangely, her breast). Being quite young, my friend and I thought that this was the artist’s concept. That he was trying to make something reminiscent of Venus de Milo, except that he’d chosen to re-imagine her as having survived a trip in a crowded Soviet bus.

However, our teacher stopped smoking his pipe for a second to look at us and say “Remember, children – always make sure you create a carcass for your sculpture.”

I bend wires to make carcasses for my new creations. My new series is called Opposites Attract. I am going to exhibit it on The Beach Studio Tour - Friday October 15th; Saturday October 16th; Sunday October 17th.

September 13, 2010

Some wonderful weather

This weekend surprised us with some wonderful weather. The rain was unusually polite and decent this time. Although the forecast made it seem like it would rain a lot, it only happened a little bit Saturday night, and wouldn’t bother us otherwise.

We knew that we needed to make the most out of the end of summer, and so we decided to go hiking in an out-of-town park. While we were "deep in the forest", my cell phone rang, and it turned out that somebody (from a gallery that is now exhibiting my work) needed photos of my art immediately. That's the magic of modern technology!
I find that fall enters our minds and souls sooner than it actually shows up in nature. Maybe spring starts sooner in Italy, but at least we have more of a chance to have a white Christmas.
I always prefer that fall appears gradually. At first, the chilly nights. Then the sweaters return to your everyday wardrobe. After that, you realize that sandals no longer have a place on your feet. Hot coffee in your travel mug in the morning. The windbreaker. Warm boots. Scarves.
Hello, winter!  

September 2, 2010

The end of the Summer

Last night, my daughter had a dinner party. At first, her plan was to cook dinner for just one girl, who is leaving to study in Ottawa soon. After that, my daughter's boyfriend signed on to help her make the dinner. (A very commendable initiative.) Then another friend joined; a guy who lives nearby. He offered to amuse them with his guitar playing while they were cooking. Finally, another girl called, saying she had some free time, and she joined the company.

It seems to me like the party was a success. All the dishes remained in one piece, and only one piece of chocolate cake got smeared on the couch.

My husband and I also had a wonderful time that day. We had dinner at our favourite Greek restaurant, and then we hung out at the Apple store. Then we went to HMV and bought two seasons of Agata Christie "Marple". After that we had a little walk. I'm just sad that summer is winding down, and it gets dark sooner.