Ego




This series is an experimental foray into three-dimensional artistic expression. Growing up in the shadow and the legacy of my father, a prominent Kyiv sculptor, I consciously focused on two-dimensional art forms"line, drawing, painting, color, texture. Now, when I have developed my own artistic self-expression, I realize that my art has been profoundly influenced by innate sculptural sensibilities. Hence, this series is a "reverse" journey, an exploration of what three-dimensionality means to me. Ironically, now my understanding of "sculpture" is more radical, multi-dimensional, psychological and even subliminal.

Here in particular we are dealing with aspects of self-centered emotions, thoughts, and view points which we all share and which define us as individuals (hence the ego, in its original Greek concept of self-consciousness or identity). In a way, these works are stereotypes of "everyman." Here I begin with a common, mass-produced element: translucent yet rather crude glass, shaped into a human head" in this case female, since here I address my own sense of identity in a world still driven by prescribed gender roles and stereotypes. This glass head, crude and mass-produced, denotes the public mask which we must wear, empty and devoid of a clearly-defined sense of self, a mere mannequin. Yet I fill the void with water and life"swimming fish. The fish, symbolizing a searching, forever probing self, is trapped in the limited space. It is aware of the world outside the glass yet it is unable to escape into it. When two fish are placed in separate containers a tension is created. The fish see each other and thus manifest a variety of predictable reactions, ranging from curiosity and sociability to territorial competitiveness and aggression. These elements suggest such complexes as "Janus" and "Together yet Separate," evocative of the recent Soviet condition, with its inherent sense claustrophobia, pointlessness, falsehood and frustration. Another effect of tension is produced with the addition of a mirror, whereby the fish confronts its own reverse image. Is one confronted here with a manifestation of narcissism, with a sub-text of imagined physical self or reaction to a threatening intruder? In other instances the crude glass form is turned upside-down, rendered it into a proverbial "Pot-Head," whereby a swarm fine red minnows create foggy, chaotic forms denoting a mental state. When two glass pots are bound with a black rubber strap, simultaneously binding and blinding the heads, the Janus concept is again visualized. All these fulfill certain philosophical, conceptual and even humorous objectives.

In other cases I use the mirror as a base on which the head stands, thus intensifying both its physical and psychological dimension. The translucent reflective nature of the glass head, the vitreous property of the water within it, the suggestion of reflected color and shade on the mirror below, the fluid motion and the burst of color of the live fish"all create a self-referential cosmos. Conversely, in such pieces as "Dreams" and "Nightmares," the circular motion of the gold (dreams) and the black (nightmares) fish evoke the ephemeral meandering of the sub-conscious mind.

Throughout, these "three-dimensional" pieces I play upon both the real and the imaginary, at once tricking and engaging the viewer. Indeed, the physical act of feeding the live fish engages the viewer directly into the piece, making him a part of it, becoming a metaphorical "feeding of dreams."

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