Artists’ paintings in Madisonville were a chilling obsession with the war in Ukraine | Arts

Artist Alexander Stolin nonetheless has a really sturdy Jap European accent, though he has spent the previous 30 years residing on the North Shore. In 1992, when he was 29 years previous, he emigrated from Ukraine, the place he was born.

It will be straightforward to interpret his solo exhibition on the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery as a response to the continuing struggle in his former homeland. The black and white work are shaded, stifling and gloomy. Stolen stated he primarily based his present model on detective noir movies and the like. The solar by no means shines on this planet it invented. The entire ambiance is uniformly unhappy.

Stolin’s work actually replicate the helplessness and disappointment he feels as he watches occasions in Ukraine unfold on CNN.

Nevertheless it’s not that straightforward. A lot of the work have been accomplished in 2020 and 2021, earlier than the struggle started. It isn’t a response to the Russian invasion, it is a pessimistic obsession.

Stolen, 59, was already carving out a spot for himself within the New Orleans artwork scene within the early 2000s. He was represented by the Julia Road Gallery and gained a variety of followers.

Then it appeared to vanish. Nothing dramatic occurred, it was simply fatherhood and his day job as a panorama artist within the movie trade stored him busy – too busy for a second profession as a painter.

“It is wrapped up in the actual world,” he stated.


Notice the house of the atomic bomb take a look at, on this element from Alexander Stolen’s portray “Crystal Ball: Silence”, at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, 400A Julia Road

Only a query about when?

However over the previous few years, he is been again in his brushes. Center age was a time of nostalgia and analysis. It’s time to reconcile himself, the Louisiana and the Ukrainian beneath him. Stolin stated being Ukrainian may be sophisticated.

Stolin stated that his father was Jewish and his mom was Jap Orthodox, however in the course of the Soviet period, it was not straightforward to specific any of the beliefs. Stolin stated his household suffered privations from communism, World Conflict II, the Chilly Conflict, after which confusion and insecurity after the autumn of the Soviet Union. He stated the latest Russian invasion was no shock. No marvel in any respect. Russia has been a relentless risk for years.

He stated that being Ukrainian means anticipating deep turmoil. Stolen stated he grew up with the dogma: “It isn’t a query of whether or not it is only a query of when.”

And that is what Stolin’s exhibition, “The Recollections Challenge” is all about. In a single portray, younger boys construct sandcastles on the seashore whereas plane carriers lie within the ocean behind them. In one other case, a household consults a crystal ball, whereas sitting underneath a board of a take a look at home constructed to find out the energy of an atomic bomb. The solar is shining in one of many panels, however the sky continues to be grey, like a swarm of silver fight drones. The one smiles seen in all the exhibition have been on the masks of kids dressed as goblins or clowns in Stolen’s portray “Halloween”.


The one smiles in all the gallery are on the faces of the elf/clown masks in Alexander Stolen’s portray “Halloween” (element).

dwell the dream

If there was any escape from this fun-free world, it could be represented by the 48-star US flag within the background of Stolen’s portray of an elementary faculty class picture titled Say Cheese. Possibly escape is the reply?

Stolen stated he all the time knew he had a distant household residing in america. After the autumn of the Berlin Wall, with communist energy waning, he seized the chance to hitch them. He traveled first to San Francisco, after which virtually instantly to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the place his long-lost cousins ​​lived. His cousins ​​inspired him to remain within the space. met a lady. His American life started.

In fact, Stolen stated, he was filled with anger, remorse, and disbelief concerning the struggle on the opposite aspect of the world. “I dwell and breathe,” he stated.

To know his emotions, he asks us to think about whether or not the place we grew up in is steadily being devastated earlier than our eyes. But he additionally asks us to not take into account him a sufferer. Having telephone conversations with previous pals in Ukraine who reside in shelters made him totally conscious of his security and luxury in Madisonville.


The American flag in Alexander Stolin’s portray Say Cheese (intimately) might point out the opportunity of escape.

“I am residing the dream,” he stated with out sarcasm.

A number of months in the past, Stolen visited the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery to see an exhibition of an previous good friend. Ferrara requested him if he nonetheless made artwork. Certainly, Stolen stated, it was. However he instructed Ferrara, “It is actually darkish. I do not know who desires that.”

However Ferrara guess on it. Take a break from the festivities throughout Saturday’s White Linen Evening Occasion to go to Stolin’s bittersweet return to the superb arts scene and permit your self to momentarily immerse your self in the actual world.

The Jonathan Ferrara Gallery is positioned at 400A Julia Road. The Recollections Challenge runs till August 27. For extra info, go to the exhibition web site.


The movie “Dawn” by Alexander Stolin doesn’t look significantly sunny.

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