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In my paintings, I explore the correspondences between ancient art and the contemporary imagination through vividly colored, abstracted images of bison, birds, nature and landscape. Using bold shapes and expressive lines, I create images on the edge of abstraction that can be read as animal, abstraction, landscape or still life. The paintings are created with impasto oil paint, incised lines, gestural brushwork and marks that are scumbled and splattered on, into and under the surfaces.

Travels on the Silk Routes in China, India and Southeast Asia have provided inspiration and opportunities to research Buddhist cave paintings and ancient art in preparation for the work. The ancient sites and spectacular landscapes generate an ongoing dialogue between the concerns of contemporary art and those of ancient art with its totemic and mythic resonances.

My paintings and monotypes consist of three primary subjects. The large-scale Bird Paintings depict waterbirds and warblers that are juxtaposed with petroglyphic marks within layers of “strata-like” paint and suggest a natural ecosystem in which all life is interdependent. The large-scale Nature and Landscape Paintings feature bending trees, ancient pines and botanicals within a background of shimmering light. The smaller Bison, Stag and Horse Paintings are a collection of imaginary animals inspired by the markings and patterns, as well as the horns and antlers, of real-world creatures. 

Additional series focus on watercolor, mixed-media and design projects. Recent watercolor projects include Animals of the Opera, and the Silk Route Bestiary. The Materica Medica Series presents botanicals inspired by the Silk Routes that are painted on silk and plaster. Contemporary cartography projects combine concepts of imaginary and persuasive cartography with design, digital art and projection to create maps of presence and absence.

Valentina DuBasky
New York, NY, 2020

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