Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rik Wouters in Mechelen

Rik Wouters, born and bred in Mechelen (Malin),got his permanent place in his native town. His paintings and sculptures are exhibited in the beautiful medieval building that is sympathetically renovated and is very Flemish like Rik Wouters himself. Till 1911 he was more a sculptor, than a painter, but his passion for colour won and during the last years of his short life he painted a lot. Among Rik's sketches I found a drawing of this bridge.  While drawing he he could clearly see the bridge, this beautiful house (below) and the tower of this very peculiar cathedral.

The name of Rik Wouters is not very well known outside Belgium. He looked like this

He was crazy about his wife Nel

He died when he was 34.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chagall and Fechin

Last week in Moscow I had one day to catch up with capital's cultural life. There were many attractions but I visited two exhibitions in Tretyakov Gallery, because I was still doubting that I'd chosen the right painter for my composition essay. The exhibition of Chagall's graphics and paintings from private collections would suit the purpose of my essay but unfortunately taking photos was forbidden, even without a flash. The exhibition was quite interesting, because I had never seen his graphics before. It brought together all kinds of works of different periods of his life:portraits more abstract compositions, sketches and studies. Some of them were more impressive than the others, I also loved his textile collages and illustrations of Gogol's novels. A couple of photos I found on the internet.

As for the second exhibition-Portraiture of Nikolai Fechin (spelled also Feshin), it was superb. One of my favourites:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Textile festival in Russia

Last week I was in Russia, where my textile group Art-igra held the first ever exhibition. The group includes quilters from Russia and Ukraine, the goals are to enhance creativity and help the members to find their own voice of self-expression. The exhibition wasn't big but got a lot of enthusiastic response. In comparison with the rest of the world, there are no internet groups of this kind in Russia. Our next exhibition is planned for august 2013, I suggested a new theme -Emotional Intelligence for the whole year, meaning that the next four works will have one underlying idea-expressing emotions, the first work- "Jealousy" is due end October.

The festival itself is a self-proclaimed art-quilt festival. The selection of competition quilts was quite thought-provoking. The theme of the contest -"female soul" embraced all the facets of women's crafts but didn't show the individual soul of a quilt-maker. Some rare examples of personal expression not connected with the idea of "being Russian" or " I wish I were a 19th century lady with a lace umbrella" were criticized by jury members for not observing the laws of Applied Arts. It seemed that strong personal emotion, troubled soul or nervous breakdown were not welcome as theme of the quilt in general. "Much too depressing, too many realistic details together with stylized background, stay within the Applied Arts aesthetics"-those were the often given comments.

The discrepancy between the Art-quilt direction of the festival and Applied Arts limitations seems to bring misunderstanding and confusion to the public and participants. The organizers even admitted that the technical quality of the quilt is not important for them, stressing that they invite art-quilt to participate. No wonder that in Russia "art-quilt" is strongly associated with poor quality, raw edges, untidiness, bulky shape.
Some disagreements with the approach of the jury and organizers doesn't mean that there were no beautiful examples of craftsmanship. I just hoped to see more individual "female soul" expressions.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nabokov's estate

The house of Nabokov's family is one of the last well preserved wooden estates built in the 18th century. The landlord's house in neoclassical style often invites textile artists to exhibit. Irina Voronina and Uliana Trishina were lucky to get the beautiful ball-room as their gallery this month. I love their works but the surroundings of the house were so stunning, that I took more pictures outside than inside.