Natasha Kanevski was a Ukraine guest artist of the
Duryea Gallery Artist-in-Residence Program.
We all have our limitations.
We live in a mortal (healthy?) human body, a random combination of our ancestors' genes. We hapened to be born in a specific country at a particular time; our race, ethnicity, and cultural background also happened to us. We can also not control thinking; it happens to us as digestion does.
Our reality is beyond our knowledge to a greater extent.
We feel it.
We are simple, imperfect, and impermanent, and we know it.
We all have the desire to be in control. We know we can control barely anything, but we still try to.
We all look at life quite polarly; we select specific objects and significant phenomena from our surroundings. Sometimes, we do that intentionally or cannot do otherwise, but we still know that about ourselves. We all need to focus on what,like a crutch, helps us move to the moment here and now, closing our eyes to our life situation. As a result, the reality is distorted, simplified to two sentences, looks clumsy, somewhat rough, and very approximate.
This selectivity of attention (I can also call it informed naivety), which inevitably distorts our complicated reality, sticking out and wildly exaggerating specific details, is my work's theme and idea.
Contrasting textures and colors represent my visual language to express my ideas and feelings. I work in that sweet spot between painting and sculpture. Recently, I started to work in monochrome to allow attention to concentrate on texture and composition.
I complete works in large, rough strokes, both wild and controlled. I incorporate massive coarse sculptured elements, scattered and amorphous. My works possess the spirit of spontaneity but, upon closer examination, reveal a considerable degree of planning. Just as we do not have to be 100% perfect, smooth, or precisely fitted, the art work does not have to be done with the most delicate invisible strokes. Rough texture, on the contrary, only emphasizes tenderness, making it even more tangible. Our roughness, wrinkles, irregularities, and cracks only emphasize our humanity, revealing our essence, delicacy, purity, and completeness, the fact that we are infinitely beautiful in our fragility and mortality. We all fee it.
Every sculptured element in my works represents a person, and I incorporate many of them in my sculptures. So, the people in my sculptures - I want them to look similar but different. We are very much alike; out differences are overrated. I made this observation as I am a product of two nations and as a result of two immigrations I made as an adult. But we are not identical; that's why I absolutely don't want those sculptured elements to be smooth and look like they were made in mass production. I want to show their character - their texture. I want them to look rough but in a way that this rough texture emphasizes their gentleness. I want them to look fragile when, in fact, they are really hard to break. I want them to show every touch of my fingers; I create those cracks as they represent different experiences we are going through. And then I organize them on a canvas together in a kind of dance; there is a logic there in the composition because, in this life, we are in this together; we are connected. Somehow. We feel it. Our reality is beyond our knowledge, BUT we feel this connection.
I use canvases instead of wooden or any other firm surfaces, and I do so to emphasize lightness, both literally and metaphorically.
Literally - because canvas weights much less than wooden planks. Also, metaphorically - to convey the feeling that even though we are fragile, we got this; we have lot of strength in us especially if we are together. We are in this together; we are connected.