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Museum Of Russian Icons Reopens On March 5 With PAINTED POETRY: ALEXANDER GASSEL

Gassel creates extraordinarily vivid paintings that reflect his cultural heritage alongside his life experience in America.  

Museum Of Russian Icons Reopens On March 5 With PAINTED POETRY: ALEXANDER GASSEL

The Museum of Russian Icons presents Painted Poetry, a retrospective exhibition of contemporary works by Russian-born American artist and designer Alexander Gassel, opening February 12th virtually, and for in-person viewing, March 5-September 26, when the Museum reopens. Blending the avant-garde with traditional Russian iconography, combining ancient symbols with contemporary subjects, Gassel creates extraordinarily vivid paintings that reflect his cultural heritage alongside his life experience in America.

Artist, conservator, and writer Alexander Gassel's work combines ancient icon painting techniques with Biblical, mythological, contemporary, and deeply personal narratives. His distinctive style is a synthesis of Art Deco designs influenced by Erté, narrative genre scenes evoking Chagall, saturated color schemes recalling Kandinsky, and complex formal structures reminiscent of Malevich, all combining to make for a highly sophisticated and individual vision that is unique to Gassel, yet typically Russian. Harmonious, elegant, and moving, his art consistently garners international attention and appears in many public and private collections, including that of the Vatican.

Painted Poetry will be the first exhibition curated by MoRI's new Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Lana Sloutsky. Bringing together artworks in a wide variety of genres, some paired with excerpts from his short stories, the show reveals Gassel's ability as a master storyteller in both word and image. A poetic aesthetic marks both and simultaneously offers an in-depth look into Gassel's artistic process while stimulating the viewer's imagination.

According to Sloutsky, "Rigorously trained as an iconographer, conservator, painter, and art historian, Sasha is prolific, creative, and erudite. His oeuvre displays an array of themes, styles, and techniques inspired as much by traditional Orthodox iconography as the Italian Renaissance, as much by the Russian avant-garde as by the European post-Impressionists. Not satisfied with the restrictions of a straight edge canvas, Gassel frequently creates unconventionally shaped and colored frames for his paintings, thus extending the works' narrative impact beyond the compositional space. The pieces are characterized by both an acute tension and a harmonious balance of color and line. In all, the works are permeated with an internal sense of rhythm, akin to music on canvas, and are at once introspective and relevant to his widely varied audience. A technical virtuoso with a genuine depth of feeling, his paintings transport the viewer to a different place and time, while reminding him of the universality of the human condition."

CURRENTLY ON VIEW at MoRI


Miniature Masterpieces: Russian Lacquer Boxes (VIRTUAL VISIT)

Through March 28, 2021

The development of Russian lacquerware, widely renowned for its exquisite detail and bright colors, is a fascinating story of artists adapting local traditions to produce new enterprises. This exhibition features more than 100 lacquer boxes from the villages of Feodskino, Palekh, Khouli, and Mstera. The papier-mache treasures are decorated with miniature paintings of folk scenes and fairy tales lacquered and polished to a high sheen.

Pysanka: Symbol of Renewal

On view through April 11, 2021

Maine-based contemporary artist Lesia Sochor's Pysanka: Symbol of Renewal, is an exhibition inspired by the beautiful tradition of intricately decorated Ukrainian Easter egg painting.


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