The J's Bodzin Art Gallery is pleased to share paintings by Nataliya Gurshman in her solo exhibition, My Russian Soul, through November 19th, 2021. Gurshman, who paints winter scenes intuitively with her pallete knife, holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Boston and an MFA from the St. Petersburg Art Academy. Her paintings bring a serene coolness to the J that has been well received, come visit during our regular hours to enjoy Gurshman's talent and read on for curator Sarah Berry's conversation with the artist.
When did you start making art and what keeps you going?
I started when I was a kid, at about 8. A good neighbor - friend who was much older than me was going to an art college, encouraged me and spent time painting with me and setting up still-life for me in our apartment in the Soviet Union. We are still friends and despite the oceans separating us, I still listen to his comments about my art.
What keeps me going... I guess the desire to express myself, to share my vision, to be alive... the covid period has been tough because it was challenging to get any kind of inspiration from staying home, but my students kept me going as well as my collectors who graciously kept coming back and acquiring my art during these tough times for everyone.
How did you gravitate to the medium and style you are working in?
I had incredible art teachers at Montgomery College, MD as well as The Art Institute of Boston who taught me how to paint with oils, by giving me freedom, guidance and emotional support. As far as the style is concerned, I did lots of experimentations over the years and a palette knife became my dear friend... Brushes are my good acquaintances too but not friends:)
Does Judaism inspire your practice or the content of your art?
I have to be honest, the religion itself might not be my inspiration, but being Jewish by blood and the experiences that many had growing up under the Soviet antisemitic regime, are definitely part of my creative process. Additionally, I love Marc Chagall and Isaac Bashevis Singer, thus I am influenced by the Jewish Eastern European culture in many ways.
How do you know when a painting is finished?
Funny you asked this... this is the exact question I ask my students... Before I start a painting, I develop a concept: it could be a composition, could be the movement of light, could be pretty much anything I decide as an artist. So, as I go through the painting process, with each mark or stroke, I move closer to that desired concept... once it is reached—I am done:) Sometimes, less is more...
Do you have any advice to share with aspiring artists?
Lots of students might think that it is easier to go to an art college than to become a doctor, for instance. For many, it might be true, however, it still takes courage, perseverance, many hours of hard work and awareness that nothing happens overnight. Additionally, who are artists? Artists are creative individuals, who know their craft and are intellectually well-rounded people. The second part is quite important in my mind. So, let’s practice the craft, be adventurous, read books, listen to music, travel, go to art museums and never get tired of learning new things...
Have you got any questions for the artist or curator? Email Sarah.Berry@theJ.org to keep the conversation going.
Visit Gurshman's website at http://www.natikart.com/.