Opening Reception: Saturday, November 15, 2014, 6:00 p.m.
Wine will be served
Once again, we present artworks by contemporary artist Valentina Kisseleva. Her prior exhibitions at our center: “Midsummer Dream” and “Romantic Posters of Brezhnev Era”, the latest accompanied by collection of postcards of the same period, have been a great success.
This time we showcase the unique collection of hand-painted versions of postcards that dedicated to the Christmas and New Year Holidays. Commissioned in the former USSR, these state/house-published postcards were originally created by Kisseleva in the 1970’s and published or reprinted into thousands of copies for state-wide distribution. Nevertheless, each one of them is artwork in itself. They are magic and colorful, and with elements of fairy tales.
Opening Reception: Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Wine will be served
Russian Cultural Center “Our Texas” plans to debut a new exhibition of illustrations by artist, Igor Karash, for the reprint of War & Peace by the renowned Folio Society of London. A unique exhibit, in that it provides an entirely new perspective into the masterpiece novel by Leo Tolstoy. Admission is always free and wine will be served at the premiere.
Karash, a designer, illustrator, and set designer originally from Baku, Azerbaijan, now resides in Saint Louis, Missouri. In the past, he has worked with major book publishers, as well as small, independent theatre companies in Russia, the United States, and abroad. Along with an array of other awards, he was also named the winner of the 2012 Book Illustration Competition organized by The House of Illustration and the world-famous, British publishing house, The Folio Society in London.
Opening Reception: Friday, August 1, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Wine will be served
In a continuation of their current exhibit of Posters of the Gorbachev Era: The Sunset of Soviet Power, The Russian Cultural Center “Our Texas” CaviArt Gallery, presents Romantic Posters of the Brezhnev Era, a unique collection of hand-painted versions of Soviet posters from a time of great stagnation by local Houston artist, Valentina Kisseleva, a contemporary artist and painter whose genius stands at the intersection of realism and cubism.
Commissioned in the former USSR, these State/House-published posters were originally created by Kisseleva in the 1970’s for various radio and television stations, murals, and even the USSR itself. Some of the individual works were published or reprinted into thousands of copies for State distribution. Kisseleva’s works subtly express mood and imagery, distinguishing themselves by their integrity and clear composition and reflect the emotionalism and energy with which she perceives the world around her.
Born in the little city of Pustoshka, Russia, Kisseleva went on to achieve recognition in the Artists’ Union of Fine Painting and the Graphic Designers’ Union; some of the most prestigious artist unions in the former USSR. Kisseleva graduated in 1977 from the Belorussian State Art University In Minsk where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in graphic design and fine arts while participating in regional and national exhibitions with works juried by her peers and published at professional level. Her works can be found in private collections across Russia, Belarus, Latvia, Litvania, Bolivia, Kuwait, Venezuela, the United States, and more.
The Russian Cultural Center “Our Texas” , presents a classic collection of handmade jewelry with an elegantly modern twist by local Houston artist, Vika Filippov. Traceable to her Russian heritage, Vika’s signature style is marked by lively color arrangements and unusual settings by combining recycled metals with natural semi-precious gemstones and Swarovski crystals. Despite every Vika Live piece being a one-of-a-kind, one of her pieces sells regularly and has become a staple in her repertoire.
“As an artist, I am intrigued by combination colors, textures, and forms found in nature,” Vika says on her website. Inspired by the allure of European fashion and earthy flair of colorful semiprecious stones, pieces by Vika Live make a fashionable statement for any occasion.
Refreshments and drinks in Soviet style will be served
Soviet-era posters have been representations of official ideology. Regardless of the ultimate failure of the Soviet experiment to create a more humane and just society, the quality of the graphic arts involved in promoting this vast experiment have become treasures of graphic design. In every Soviet poster there is expressiveness and high graphic quality. The attention to details is awesome.
At the end of the Soviet era, the visual language that had been developed through decades was employed to encourage a reform within the Soviet system. The reform ultimately failed, leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
We present the posters of 1987-1990. It was very dramatic period in Russian history: Perestroika and the sunset of Soviet power took place then, leading to the new Russian Federation.
The meeting with the photographers: Thursday, March 27, 7:30p.m.
Opening Reception: March 14, 7:30 p.m. Beverages will be served
Gennady Meergus resides in Israel. His artworks have been showed at solo and group exhibitions in Israel, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania and USA. Gennady participated in PHOTOVISA Festival, Russia and Month of Photography in Bratislava, Slovakia. His photographs are housed in the permanent collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) and numerous private collections. Photographs by Gennady Meergus were successfully presented at his exhibition “Reflected Artifacts” at RCC in 2011.
Series “City in mountains” is dedicated to the sacred city of Safed situated in the mountains of Northern Galilee. Gennady photographed its streets, walls, inhabitants and surroundings for the last 12 years. He observed its character and habits, its aging, and its wounds and scars.
Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Vladimir Frumin currently lives in Houston. Vladimir has worked as an engineer in NASA for 9 years. Since 2010 he has become a full time fine art photographer. Vladimir participated in FOTOFEST 2008 with his exhibition “Transformations”. His photographs have been shown at many solo and group exhibitions. Portfolios by Vladimir have won Black and White magazine’s Excellence and Merit awards. Artworks by Vladimir Frumin are housed in private collections in USA, Russia, Mexico and Israel.
Series “Russia 2013” was inspired by photographer’s visit with old friends after 23 years of living abroad. In this series Vladimir attempted to emphasize the hardship of Siberian life. He implemented a special technique to create a vintage appearance.
With her latest exhibition, the Russian-born Houstonian invites you to share her dream.
“Dedicated to Gustav Klimt,” Valentina Kisseleva
On a recent Friday night I met up with Valentina Kisseleva at the Russian Cultural Center, where she was debuting her latest exhibition, “Midsummer Dream.” The gallery is small and quaint, but Kisseleva’s work is imposing and dramatic. As she led me from one painting to another, I had the feeling that I was peering into her private life and sifting through old memories. There was something beautiful, yet invasive about the experience, like watching someone else’s dreams. When I mentioned this feeling to Kisseleva, she explained that my reaction was typical.
“This came from when I was a teenager and I fell in love with my painting teacher and we danced together,” she said, pointing to one of her favorite works and imparting a wistful smile. “We danced under the moon and it was a very beautiful time.”
“Fall Reflection,” Valentina Kisseleva
Born in Moscow, Kisseleva says her style comes from her time at the Belarus Art Academy in the mid-1970s. Her work is experimental, playing with lines, color, and a variety of impressionistic styles. Her work has appeared in exhibitions across the globe, including Kuwait, Russia, and Venezuela, and many of her paintings are in private collections in Russia. An artist, she believes, lives partially in a dream, something she hopes to impart to her audience as they absorb her inner world. As we took in another painting—this one about music—she said that her paintings are meditations on the mundane, a way of picking out philosophical questions from everyday events.
“My paintings include a lot of emotion and movement and sensations from my inner spaces,” she said. “You are viewing my own fairy tale.”
“Duet,” Valentina Kisselova
It’s a fairy tale that can sometimes take years to construct. Some paintings take five years to finish, while others are completed in a matter of weeks. What dictates her timeline, she said, is as mysterious as what inspires her work.
“My work starts with a mood, or a song, a person or an interesting book,” she says. “I never really know. Sometimes I lose my inspiration and I wait and put my painting on the back wall and start something else. Then, a year later I’ll start over.”
“Girl on the Chair,” Valentina Kisseleva
“Midsummer Dream,” which includes 19 paintings, is on display until March 7, 2014.
Moscow-born painter Valentina Kisseleva has a little difficulty putting a name on her style of work. “My style is different now than it was 10 years ago. I’ve been moving away from Social Realism and creating a new style,” she tells us in a thick Russian accent. “It’s my own style. I like a lot of artists from the past; I was always inspired by artists like Renoir, Cezanne, and Van Gogh, but I don’t follow the style of these artists exactly. I like to create something new, so it’s my style.”
Just a few days before the opening of her latest local exhibit, “Valentina Kisseleva: Midsummer Dream,” Kisseleva tells us she hopes her paintings “talk” to viewers.
“I like to consider my work as visual poetry; I want to provoke emotive reactions. It’s more bright colors and more emotional. I use a lot of lines, a lot of shapes. I like to show that a painting isn’t only silent, it can talk about something, make a noise, make music.”
The “Midsummer Dream” exhibit, slated for a four-month run at the Russian Cultural Center, is a collection of work she’s completed over the last five years. Kisseleva had another exhibit last January based on the same body of work. “A few of those paintings have already been sold, so I added a few new pieces. It won’t be the same exact show.”
Courtesy of Valentina Kisseleva
What She Does: “I’m an fine art artist. I have two degrees in art. One is in fine art, one is in graphic design. What I’m working on and showing in the exhibit at the [Russian Cultural Center] is fine art.”
What Inspires Her: “When artists start to do a painting, they have different reasons, different ways. For me, what inspires me is a strong [experience], most often in real life. For example, I did a painting of a comet. I saw a comet and the fire coming from the tail. That inspired me to do a painting.
“Other times a good movie or a good song inspires a feeling in me and that feeling eventually becomes a painting. Colors inspire me, too.”
Why She Likes It: “I like to express myself, to share my feelings and ideas with other people.
“Artists don’t need to talk a lot. The paintings should talk with the viewer. That way the viewer can have their own response, whatever it is. Maybe it’s what I think about when I’m working on the painting, but maybe not. Both ways, it’s fine.”
Courtesy of Valentina Kisseleva
If Not This, Then What: “I would probably be a writer. I like to write.” Kisseleva has already published one memoir and has another one planned.
If Not Here, Then Where: Asked where else she might like to live at this point in her life, Kisseleva laughs, “On planet Earth? Or somewhere in the galaxy? On Earth, I would like to live where there’s more art, like Paris or Italy. I visit Italy and was so impressed with it; it’s a beautiful country.”
What’s Next: The exhibit “Valentina Kisseleva: Midsummer Dream” opens at the Russian Cultural Center December 20 and runs through March. After that, Kisseleva says she has another exhibit at the Houston Public Library planned. Unlike “Midsummer Dream,” which is made up of work she completed in the last five years, the planned exhibit will feature older works.
“In the past I painted scenes of people who survived the Communist era in the Soviet Union; some of them my family members, some people I knew.”
There’s an opening reception for “Valentina Kisseleva: Midsummer Dream” at 7:30 p.m. December 20. The artist will be in attendance. Regular gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Through March 7. Russian Cultural Center Our Texas, 2337 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-395-3301 or visit the center’s website. Free.
Opening Reception and meeting with the artist:December 20, 2013, 7:30p.m.
Wine will be served
A native of Moscow, Russia, Valentina Kisseleva studied graphic design and painting at the Belarus Art Academy in Minsk.
Valentina formed her own recognizable style as an integration of different artistic schools. She experiments with the line, color, and various styles of the past.
Valentina Kisseelva has participated in various solo and group exhibitions and shows in Minsk, Moscow, Kuwait, Venezuela, Houston, and San Antonio. Her paintings are featured in many private collections in Russia and abroad.
A couple of weeks ago, I have participated in a 2-man art exhibit with a fellow illustrator Igor Karash. What brought us together was the work that we have done forThe Folio Society, a British publisher of illustrated books.
The Folio Society is known for producing beautiful books and working with illustrators from all over the world. Back in 2010, its art director, Sheri Gee approached me to create illustrations for Gustav Meyrink’s classic The Golem. In 2012, Igor Karash won the House of Illustration Book Competition. The winning prize was a commission to illustrate The Folio Society’s edition of The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter.
The illustrations were done in completely different styles (Igor used watercolors and mine were linocuts), but there were some similarities in the subject matter that we have worked with. Both books by Meyrink and Carter revolved around dark and mystical themes. Also both authors used traditional tales, myths and legends as a source of inspiration.
Illustrations from the Golem by Vladimir Zimakov
Besides being book illustrators and working with the same publisher, what also tied us together were our Russian roots and our Texas experience. Igor lived in Houston for a long time after moving to the US and I have spent a bit of my formative years in Dallas, where my parents still reside.
Illustrations from The Bloody Chamber by Igor Karash
We were introduced earlier this year by Sophia Grinblat, the president of the Russian Cultural Center in Houston. She was the one who proposed that we do a show together at her gallery, which was located in the heart of the city’s art district.
It’s always tricky and challenging to do group shows, especially when the artists live in different cities and have to fly in a few days before the exhibition for installation. This time, I wasn’t so much worried. After briefly talking to Igor over the phone for the first time, I knew that we were on the same page with this.
When I have to exhibit and install the show in cities other then mine, the first stop after the plane lands is IKEA, which has the best deal on frames. You can also count on them for having a bunch of them in stock. That way one can carry a whole exhibit of graphic works in a large folder or a roll. Igor took a very similar route.
With the generous help of a fellow Houston artist Boris Kaplun and the staff of the gallery, Igor and me were able to frame and install the whole show in one long day.
There’s always something that breaks or needs to be matted right during the installation, and as the fate would have it, the only business that was open within two blocks on a Thursday night was a frame shop…
Igor has exhibited original drawings, prints and sketches for The Bloody Chamber.
Since my prints for The Golem were smaller, I have also decided to show the illustrations from Meyrink’s Walpurgisnacht, Andersen’s The Nightingale, Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum and some of the work that I have recently done for Amanda Palmer.
Also on display was some of the most recent stuff that I am currently working on inspired by ancient myths and the writing of Alexandr Chayanov. In a typical manner, some of those were finished the night before I boarded the plane for Houston.
The opening night was held on Friday, April 5th.
The Folio Society was very generous to send the Russian Center copies of our books for signing. We set up a table in the middle of the gallery showcasing the books and prints.
And here’s a photo taken at the very end of an exhausting but gratifying day.
Vladimir Zimakov & Igor Karash (photo by Lola Vayner)
Go here to see all illustrations from The Bloody Chamber and other works by Igor Karash.
Here you can see all of my illustrations for The Golem.
This is the site of The Folio Society, where you can check out all the great books that they publish.