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Irina Vasilieva
59 degrees north latitude

10 September — 20 October 2019
22 Totibadze Gallery

Irina Vasilieva
59 degrees north latitude

What does a woman feel when she finds herself in a suspicious mirror room and turns into a piece of kaleidoscope? What is the difference between coniferous forest on different sides of the Russian-Finnish border? Answers to these and other unexpected questions are given by the works of Irina Vasilyeva, a graphic artist, illustrator, collage creator and continuer of the traditions of the Leningrad underground. 

On the palette - kraplak, cinnabar, orange cadmium, Sevan green and green FTs. She paints her paintings - alive, breathing, trembling - in two colors - green and red. She speaks of herself with the same speed as she does in her sketches or on a bicycle. Amazing openness - neither arrogance nor posertness. She works fr om nature, under snow and heavy rain, i.e. she honors the plein-airs that many people have forgotten forever. Lives between St. Petersburg and Kronstadt, wh ere her paintings show densely reedy shores and dramatic black gates of military units. 

I heard that painting had died," Ira said. - Those who say so simply don't know how and don't want to do it. They don't enjoy it. I myself am a supporter of the Plein Air, everybody knows about it. Sometimes I stop my Ford trick at KAD and draw from the window with a pencil on a piece of paper. I also draw at my friends' in Martyshkino. All I see: Rosenberg, apple trees, trousers, beetroot. In my country house in Yappilya I draw - a pine forest, a lake, our house is zizyuleozelenyj, mosses, mushrooms, pines ... Here Feropontovsky monastery in a fog I can not draw, so it is beautiful, to tears!.. In general, write it this way: there will be CE ME. And, besides usual landscapes, there will be a subject line. Yes, so write..."

A few years ago Ira Vasilieva moved from St. Petersburg to Kronshtadt, and now some of Kronshtadt's residents look at the local sights exclusively through her eyes. "Look at it as if Vasilieva was painted! - My friend tells me, pointing to the funny cannons and Christmas trees protruding against the background of snowdrifts. And exactly. The iron gates of checkpoints, the yawning black windows of the barracks and other greediness of desolation due to Irina's work is perceived not so much by the bitter mine of fate as by the artistic method embodied in the reality. Ira accepted this city as it is, unconditionally believed in its beauty and had time to draw hundreds of times. She poeticizes even the notorious dam that turned the islanders into peninsulas in its time, - replicates its bony geometry in engravings and lace collages. 

"From nature or from memory? In different ways!... Sometimes I draw a scheme: a stick with a circle - pine, a stick with twigs - a tree. And then I work according to the scheme. I take the olive, Georgian green, wolfhound ... Last summer because of the heat I drew five winter landscapes at once, - immediately became cooler! And, you know, I don't like to travel: we have a silver sea and quite "Italian" clouds here - why should I go somewhere?"

Nina Filuta, art historian