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In Conversation with J Artists: Meet Alyse Radenovic

Sarah Berry, Bodzin Art Gallery Curator on Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Bodzin Art Gallery Presents: 
In Conversation with J Artists - Meet Alyse Radenovic

The J's Bodzin Art Gallery is pleased to share paintings by Alyse Radenovic [link http://www.alyseradenovic.com/] in her solo exhibition, Ray of Tikvah, Through Letters and Landscapes, through January 7, 2022. Radenovic’s interpretations of pastoral and urban settings feature a kaleidoscope of colors that take viewers on a journey from Virginia to distant lands. Her depictions of ancient Jewish prayers and songs fill the canvas with Hebrew letters like stars in the sky. Come visit during our regular hours to enjoy the vibrancy of Radenovic’s work. Read on for curator Sarah Berry's conversation with the artist.

When did you start making art and what keeps you going?

As far as I know, most children make some form of art. As life goes on we decide, and circumstances decide for us, whether we will specialize in it. During my youth I lacked the means and confidence to pursue it seriously. In some ways it is good that I started later, when I had the necessary maturity. At this point in my life, I keep going because not doing it makes me unhappy.

How did you gravitate to the medium and style you are working in?

I moved into acrylic painting when I found it was the most efficient way to express what needed to be expressed. I began painting professionally when I was asked to collaborate with my art hero, composer Kokan Dimusevski.

When did your Judaism start to inspire the content of your art?

The answer, broadly, depends on how you look at the world and whether you see Judaism as integral to it.

In my personal experience, I was inspired to begin art in earnest when I had a dream about a way to sew a Hebrew letter onto fabric. It awakened my understanding of the creative process, altered my consciousness, and radically refocused my life onto the work of making art. A large part of the body of my work is interpretations of Jewish texts and I have always had a deep love for Jewish music. The inspiration for this art is like the inspiration you feel when hearing and seeing the songs and texts in the synagogue. The songs and texts have a magical quality that seems to come to us from another part of reality, one which we don’t understand.  The creative process, making visual art, feels mostly like a matter of sensing a thing which already exists in a nonmaterial way, and conveying that materially. I assume that many people feel this connection without any conscious exposure to Judaism, but rather through exposure to the beauty and mystery of the natural world. But in my case, the spark that began and sustained my work has been definitively Jewish, and that is sometimes evident in the content of the art.

Do you have any advice to share with aspiring artists?

I am not sure about this, but as far as I understand, art seems to be completely subjective - meaning, there is no clearly good or bad way to do it.  Art technique can be learned like any other craft can be learned, and going forward with it can only lead to improvement. You may be surprised with eventual results that you are happy with.


Photo credit: Frederick Woods


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