One Show, Two Styles
Gubin Paints Dream World; Demovidova Seeks ‘More Dimension' by Jessica Forres
The International Visions Art Gallery is currently showing the work of Ukrainian-American artist Mikhail Gubin and Russian artist Anna Demovidova—two artists with similar cultural backgrounds but very different styles and creative interpretations.
Gubin’s return exhibition, “Time Quilt,” is a reflection of the unconscious imagination, of those fleeting dreams that pass in the night and their many complexities. The series of drawings and paintings for the most part depicts people enveloped in a dream world, and Gubin’s dream world doesn’t cater to those without an imagination.
Born in Kharkov, Ukraine, Gubin has spent more than a decade living in New York. He has had 15 solo exhibitions and more than 100 group shows, most of which were held at colleges, universities and small museums. He said that he wants “educated people to see something special” when viewing his work, and his use of metaphorical and allegorical subjects certainly add depth to the 60-by-34-inch canvas.
“My interest lies in human beings. I’ll say no more. I love them. Some wouldn’t believe me, those even feel insulted by my paintings. Still, I love them,” he said.
Each one of his human figures is distinctly different, almost making it difficult to identify his particular style. Two of his paintings, “Boy Called Sebastian” and “Window,” completely different in style, successfully reveal the unconscious and the many forms it can take. For Gubin, art is not about conforming to one style but rather playing with them all, making his exhibit a nice break from the uniformity of reality.
Russian artist Demovidova’s creativity extends far beyond the limitations of her palette. She uses all sorts of techniques to capture the essence of her subjects. One clever idea was to attach portable compact disc players to the wall below each painting, allowing viewers to listen to music or interviews about the paintings’ subjects.
Her figurative art combined with interviews and soundscapes allow viewers to get an inside peek into the lives of the people she paints. Her objective, she said, is to “make painting a little more accessible” and give “more dimension to the painting.”
Demovidova said what she truly seeks is spontaneity: “I am looking for a new way of seeing, and I want each painting to surprise and startle in its expression of life.”
Currently living in Washington, D.C., her series “Washington Paintings” highlights the lives of local Washingtonians who have been monumental in making the nation’s capital more than just a place of politics. Her portraits include “Kelly and Maze,” owners of the Twins Lounge on U Street; “Mohammed Ali”; “Anna Maria,” owner and chef of Anna Maria’s restaurant on Connecticut Avenue; as well as a self-portrait, all of which include in-depth interviews about each subject’s life.
Her group portrait of the “Federal Jazz Commission” performing is especially enjoyable. Instead of an interview, a compilation of the group’s songs plays while viewers pass by the painting. The infusion of music and portraiture brings the painting to life and is a refreshing stimulant for the senses.
Born in the town of Rostov the Great, Russia, the young artist continues to work on a series called ‘Russia Is Us,” which she began two years ago. If all goes well, she will share with the rest of the world what she so brilliantly captured with the people of Washington.
“Time Quilt” and “Washington Paintings” run through Oct. 12 at the International Visions Art Gallery, 2629 Connecticut Ave., NW. For more information, please call (202) 234-5112 or visit www.inter-visions.com.
Jessica Forres is an editorial inter for the Washington Diplomat
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