This diptych painting is done for the first floor of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art. The work is about the two artists Saule Suleimenova and Kyanish Bazargaliev inside their apartment and studio. If you look from left to right you actually see the image of Saule moving through the canvas. Sitting on the chair holding a book is Kyanish. Things are melting and dripping here. Sometimes you see the space and sometimes the space disappears. I am working on the feeling of art being a process. You can see pencil marks over paint and paint over pencil marks. There are little elements of life here. Some examples are a tea kettle, some wine glasses and pialas (Kazakh tea cups). Things seem to float in and out of the space as memory.
There is a building near the middle of the painting. It’s an apartment that is down the street from Saule and Kyanish’s place. I love the architecture of Almaty. It’s hard for me to avoid painting pictures of them. During the Soviet Union they were called Social Condensers and I love that name. I did a whole series of paintings about them and this part of the piece harks back to these earlier works.
The challenge to understand interior spaces was something that took a lot of thinking to figure out how to best convey them. I want something fresh and new here. I want the paintings to feel like you are in a dream.
I noticed something after installing this that I found really interesting. The piece captures a lot of light by the mere fact that it is mainly white. This creates an illusion of light traveling through space. I quite enjoyed having these paintings face Gaisha Madanova’s work. I felt her photos conveyed the light in a similar way.
This is a series of two pieces that accompany the video installation project by Aminatou Echard. The paintings are oil on canvas. and they are each 120cmx80cm in size. The pieces aren’t really a diptych but match in size and color. They are individual pieces that are meant to respond to each other and the projected video by Aminatou. My idea was to create a response to video. I worked in close dialogue with Aminatou as she was developing her video. We both found a moment in her film we both agreed that could be stopped and perhaps savored for a moment and reconfigured through painting. The work isn’t an exact reproduction of the video. I expanded on the idea of the video and found something new in the image. Aminatou and I both tried to find something that really felt like an element to his home and life. Trying to convey Georgii’s space and his spirit was the challenge for me.
Sensuality of Space 1 is actually two pieces on one canvas. The image is the echo or stutter of how we perceive video or perhaps a way to understand how we remember things. The work harkens back to abstract expressionist paintings. There are some new elements here. The work is processual, sometimes you see parts that seem to fragment or distort. A hand comes from behind a fragmented part of red. This is Georgii’s hand. When viewing Aminatou’s video we agreed that his hands really say a lot about who he is. An interesting physical trait that I wanted to somehow convey.
Sensuality of Space 2 is a different painting than the first one. The work feels more complete or less processual. It was here where I focus on the image sitting alone in space. There is a different feeling about it. I find the metal pots as a metaphor of Georgii’s spirit. The metal objects sit in space amongst other objects that you can not quite identify. There are more fragmentation’s of space in red and the space is somehow flattened to remind one that they are not looking into space but are looking at a painting. I find that the red images are like pixels fragmenting.