BRAMA, May 10, 2012, 9:00 AM ET|
Retrospective exhibition of paintings by contemporary artist Ilona Sochynsky opens this weekend at The Ukrainian Museum in New York
A Singular Vision
Retrospective of Painting
New York City, May 10, 2012 A Singular Vision: Ilona Sochynsky, Retrospective of Painting, a comprehensive exhibition of more than 50 paintings, including many large-scale works from all phases of the artist's development, will open to the public on Sunday, May 13, 2012. Curated by Jaroslaw Leshko, Professor Emeritus at Smith College, the exhibition will be on view through October 7.
Ilona Sochynsky’s painting career, entering its fourth decade, presents an oeuvre of visual beauty, intelligence, intensity and complexity. At its core, it is a profoundly personal journey of discovery. Her earliest paintings explore the imagery of Pop Art (she was especially drawn to the works of James Rosenquist) and Photorealism, a movement prominent in the 1970s. She responded to the latter’s hyperrealism and its subject matter of cars, motorcycles and street scenes, which she reinterpreted in her work to extraordinary effect.
By the 1980s, her focus shifted to a more personal iconography of revealing self-portraits, images of her husband, her sister, and other psychologically compelling imagery that carry within them the universal code of contemporary existence. It is during this probing period that she briefly experimented with a more painterly, expressionist style in order to explore its impact on the content of her work and partly in response to the neoexpressionist movement that dominated the 1980s.
In recent decades, Sochynsky has set aside the subjects of her earlier paintings and made the formal concerns the focus of her art. Thus, a series of small paintings done over a period of five years (2006-2011) is titled Fragment. These and other recent works encompass both abstract forms and recognizable natural forms. They are often rendered in interactive fragments and in a series like Capriccios (2006), break out of the rectilinear boundary into irregularly shaped canvases. These works are at once exhuberant and complex in their formal presentation and in their content. They are, as well, among the artist's most compelling images. To engage them is to discover the richness of the creative process.
Works for A Singular Vision: Ilona Sochynsky, Retrospective of Painting were drawn from private collections, including the artist's own holdings, as well as from The Ukrainian Museum's permanent collection of fine art.
Ilona Sochynsky received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1969 and her MFA from Yale University in 1972. After graduation she successfully ran the Ilona Sochynsky Associates, a graphic design firm, until 1979 when the imperative to paint won out.
Solo exhibitions: The Noyes Museum of Art, the Ukrainian Institute of America
Collections: Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, The Ukrainian Museum, The Noyes Museum of Art, Morris Propp Foundation, and private collections.
What has been said about Ilona Sochynsky and her art
"How enlightening and enjoyable it is to see an oeuvre that renders the issue moot through a hybrid art that encompasses both realism and abstraction, delving into the visual and conceptual potential of both of these artistic worlds Ultimately, through the blending of the naturalistic and the abstract, the ongoing stylistic progression of Sochynsky's art offers both stability and transformation, and an art of intriguing effect."
Jeffrey Wechsler, Senior Curator
Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers
The State University of New Jersey, 2009
"Contained within the borders of Ilona Sochynsky's work are tumultuous abstract configurations of color and form. Her brilliant palette is accentuated by a profusion of shapes and forms that converge and overlap within the confines of the canvas. Undulating across the surface, these forms, lines and shapes create an atmosphere that possess sensuous overtones."
A.M. Weaver, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions
The Noyes Museum of Art, 2007
"[A] photorealist earlier in her career, [Sochynsky has] moved increasingly into abstraction. These exciting pieces provide us with a glimpse into that stage in her development when the painterly techniques of her earlier work ran headlong into the more freewheeling design concerns that drove her work forward in the 1990s."
ARTnews, Summer 2005
"Moving away from the dense packed compositions full of bright color juxtaposed with dark, hovering, ominous shapes, Sochynsky is finding a new voice in small whimsical floating objects.... Individual shapes, often ambiguous and imbued with a personal twist, rendering them momentarily reminiscent of recognizable forms. And yet they simultaneously obscure any particular association, as they hover hauntingly reminding of us of the often surreal juxtaposition of images found in her monumental works. But here, she seems to be exploring a personal shorthand."
Christina Saj (Curator, Artspace 129, Montclair, NJ)
Sochynsky's New Artworks, The Ukrainian Weekly, December 21, 2003
About the Curator
Jaroslaw Leshko, Professor Emeritus at Smith College, Northampton, MA., taught the history of nineteenth and twentieth century art, for thirty-five years. He was also a guest professor at Hunter College, NYC, Amherst College and Mount Holyoke College. He received his BA, MA, M. Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Professor Leshko's area of interest is early modernism and his scholarly work has focused on the art of Vienna at the time of turn of the century and specifically the art of Oskar Kokoschka. Professor Leshko has curated numerous exhibitions, including Alexander Archipenko: Vision and Continuity, the inaugural exhibition in The Ukrainian Museum's new location. He has lectured widely and participated in international symposia. His scholarly articles have appeared in journals in the United States, Austria, Japan and Italy.
Publications: Alexander Archipenko: Vision and Continuity, The Ukrainian Museum, New York, 2005; Orbis Pictus: The Prints of Oskar Kokoschka, Washington State University Press, 1987; Jacques Hnizdovsky, Painter, Printmaker, The Ukrainian Museum, New York, NY, 1995; Smith College Museum of Art European and American Paintings and Sculpture 1760-1960, Hudson Hills Press, New York, 2000 (author of the European section, co-author with Joan Davis).
About The Ukrainian Museum
The Ukrainian Museum acquires, preserves, and exhibits articles of artistic or historic significance to the rich cultural heritage of Ukrainian Americans; its collections include thousands of items of folk art, fine art, and archival material. At its founding in 1976 by the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, the Museum was hailed as one of the finest achievements of Americans of Ukrainian descent. Since then, and particularly since its move in 2005 to a new, state-of-the-art building in Manhattan’s vibrant East Village, it has become known as one of the most interesting and dynamic smaller museums in New York City. Each year, the Museum organizes several exhibitions, publishes bilingual (English/Ukrainian) catalogues, and presents a wide range of public and educational programs, including concerts, films, lectures, courses, workshops, and special events.
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