Armine Bozhko: In the Presence of Time Passing. Opening Reception September 14, 2023 6-8PM
September 14, 2023 - November 5, 2023
Armine Bozhko: In the Presence of Time Passing
Opening reception: Thursday, September 14, 6–8pm
Celebrating the opening of its 69th exhibition season, Art at the Institute is delighted to announce In the Presence of Time Passing, an exhibition of land and seascape paintings by Armine Bozhko, a Long Island-based artist of Ukrainian and Armenian descent. These works examine the intensity with which the artist embraces the dichotomies between beginning and end, observation and memory, and representation and abstraction.
One moment Armine Bozhko seems an abstract painter uniquely attuned to the physical world and another she seems an observational painter with an uncanny command of the abstract elements of painting. Her shapes and gestures are evocative, remaining faithful to the specificity of light and place. She paints light as if in desirous pursuit of its textures and temperatures. These pictures do not simply illustrate or describe light; they enact its imperious, changeful presence from a moment’s notice and over time—an important ingredient in her work—affording her headroom to invent and make new discoveries.
Her land and sea images manipulate space as if it were pure mass, or massive simplicity. Yet, Bozhko pays particular attention to natural and architectonic motifs and to the transmutation of nature’s colors, which take on a second nature, quite their own. Her love for the physical world is inseparable from the provocations of memory. Remembrance and mood may intensify an image in the making, but they also destabilize it. She uses color expressively, not semiotically, or as an index of historical precedents. The modern colorist tradition, from the School of Paris to the Americans Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery, and Wolf Kahn exists as a shadowlife in Bozhko’s work. She has kneaded that tradition into the form-making process but has also vaporized it with a new specificity and saturation of feeling. Seemingly, she has been guided by Cézanne’s remark: “Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing sensations.” She uses paint to express the sublime, not to illustrate an idea.
The painting process for Bozhko is marked by an internalized inquisitiveness of memory retrieval and invention. Instead of wrestling down subjects into forms, the viewer is treated to a passionate coaxing of forms into existence. A kind of painterly rhetoric emerges from her imagery following the artist’s familiar motifs through their formal changes—the adjusted luminosities of color, the quivering tensions of volume and space, the contraction and expansion of objects in their fields. She accomplishes all this without sacrificing her love for paint’s materiality; its pliant and sensual body. Both medium and the formal and idiosyncratic properties of paint and nature are joined in a union over which this artist presides.
Noted art historian Halyna Kostiuk has stated, “Bozhko’s paintings are characterized by a unique pictorial freedom, in which color is a decisive factor: to what extent to be in the objective world and to what extent in the abstract. This freedom is especially impressive to viewers, who can effortlessly either single out objects in compositions or dissolve in color planes … At the same time as intellectual tasks are performed by [means of] color in Bozhko’s works—the development of content, plastic solutions and mood—they are extremely sensual and tactile. [This] sensuality is inherent in both warm and cold tones and does not need help from the texture; the colors themselves, due to their saturation, greater or lesser intensity, evoke strong feelings [of] elation, joy, sadness, hope, and love.”
Armine Bozhko was born in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1977 to a Ukrainian-Armenian family. She studied at and graduated from the Taras Shevchenko State Art School (1995) and the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture, Department of Monumental Painting (BFA, 2021; MFA, 2024). In 2002, she became a full member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine and a member of the Armenian Artists Union. In 2006, she was awarded the Gaude Polognia Scholarship (Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland) for study at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts (Krakow, Poland) and later continued studio art practice at Portland State University (Portland OR). She participated in multiple art fairs among them Art Market Hamptons, Red Dot Miami, Art Expo New York, and Reno Tahoe International Art Show, and recent solo exhibitions were held at Ukrainian Canadian Art Foundation/KUMF Gallery (Toronto, Ontario) and George Billis Gallery (New York). The artist is represented by George Billis Gallery (Fairfield, CT; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY), Art Me Gallery (Kyiv, Ukraine) and Design Domaine Gallery (Spring Lake, NJ). Her works are included in private collections in Armenia, Canada, France, Georgia, Italy, Norway, Poland, Ukraine, and the United States. Armine Bozhko works on the North Shore of Long Island where she lives with her husband and two sons.
Exhibition hours: Thursday to Sunday, 12–6pm, or by appointment. Please consult the UIA website for opening hours in effect, as there are occasional closures.
Image: Evening, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches
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