2002-11-16 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

By Susan Hartenstein

Rockaway Artists Alliance

Nearly 300 visitors attended the opening reception, last Sunday, of "The Russians Are Here." RAA's newest exhibition in sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden, opened to raves. "The Russians Are Here" is a unique and important exhibition. It brings together in this country, in one place and at one time, the artwork of 11 Russian artists from different parts of the same vast homeland. Though they have much in common, their diversity in style, technique and expressive impulse is clear. RAA expresses its gratitude to the Russian community, which attended the reception in such large numbers. Though the visitors came from various parts of the city and various ethnic groups, much of the large crowd attending came in order to appreciate and support the artistry of their compatriots. Many were artists themselves. Others, just passionate lovers of art. From Rockaway, Brooklyn, the mainland of Queens and beyond, they came. "The Russians Are Here" has exposed a large segment of our population to a great natural resource - the beautiful national urban park that is Gateway National Recreation Area - about which they would otherwise not have known.

"The Russians Are Here" continues through December 8. Gallery hours are Saturdays, 12-5 p.m. and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. The high caliber of artistry and the uniqueness of the exhibition make it a "must see." Eleven artists participate. All are RAA members. Each is an accomplished artist schooled in the disciplines of his/her profession and drawing upon a variety of influences, forged by the social, political and spiritual aspects of their native and adopted countries. Over the next weeks, this column will expose its readers to the fascinating stories of some of these artists.

Victor Zinuhov was born in Kharkov, one of the oldest cultural centers in the Ukraine. He received extensive training in art schools and academies in Kharkov. Zinuhov won honors and awards in Russia and the United States, including a National Award of USSR Council of Ministry for sculptural composition and the Artist Showcase award in Manhattan Arts International magazine. The ministries of Culture of the USSR and the Ukraine have acquired Zinuhov paintings for museums and private collections. The Fine Art Museum of the City of Kharkov recently mounted a major exhibition of his paintings. Zinuhov has also created monumental decorative works including murals, reliefs and stained glass. He has been exhibited internationally and has been featured in various publications. Zinuhov's paintings are powerful and dynamic. His biography states that they "exude the pulse of a modern society and unleash deeply rooted influences. His exploration of cultural traditions, music and various intellectual, philosophical and metaphysical sources of learning inspire his paintings."

Helen Lurye has also exhibited extensively in this country and in Russia. She began her studies in art and crafts at the Moscow Embroidery School and continued them at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Winchester School of Arts in Great Britain. It is no wonder, therefore, that her vibrant, colorful paintings are quilt-like in surface texture and in presentation. These paintings are filled with heroic and mythological symbolism and, coming from a totalitarian society, the theme and symbols of freedom. She derives much of her imagery from the natural world, the beauty of which she is acutely aware. Recognizing, however that people's lives are lead, as Thoreau stated, in "quiet desperation," the purpose of Lurye's art "is to provide a healing, if somewhat fleeting, relief from this desperation; to comfort and remind the viewer that beauty still exists, is within our reach and that not all is lost.

RAA members are invited to submit artwork for a member holiday exhibition entitled "Sparkle," which will run December 14 - January 19. Theme: anything that sparkles. This can be anything from snow in sunlight to glistening water to semi-precious stones to... Use your imagination and let your ideas take flight. Original paintings, limited edition prints, photographs, jewelry, sculpture (provide your own pedestals), pottery, ceramics are all acceptable. Works with glass must be securely framed with wires across the back for hanging. Artwork must be submitted to sTudio 6 gallery on Sunday, December 8, 4-6 p.m. or Monday, December 9, 6-7:30 p.m. Please provide clear photographs of submitted work ASAP for publicity purposes. Contact RAA for further submission details.

See you at the Fort.

Victor Zinuhov, one of the artists featured in "The Russians Are Here" at Ft. Tilden through December 8.

"Sad Petrushka" oil painting by Victor Zinuhov, one of the Russian artists featured in "The Russians Are Here."

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