Alexander Gassel. From Nov 8th through Dec 7th, 2008.
Alexander Gassel's work is a surrealistic dance of old symbols and contemporary subjects reflecting life experiences of a Russian artist in America. You might have seen work by Alexander Gassel before if you happened to visit Vatican, but if you have not, you shouldn't miss his solo exhibit, which will be running until December 7th, 2008.
Alexander or Sasha, as everyone calls him, was born in Moscow. He studied, worked and lived under the Soviet oppression. The government would not accept or recognize him as an artist as he chose the "wrong" art to create – contemporary religious paintings were strictly forbidden in Russia then. It made him leave the country in 1980 to start a new life in America.
Alexander Gassel makes icons. He uses an ancient technique: egg yolk tempera. He makes his own color pigments by grinding natural stones and minerals into powder, which he then mixes with egg yolk. By restoring and copying medieval tempera paintings, the artist mastered traditional methods of icon painting as well as developed his own unique style. Based on traditional Russian artistic values, his new artwork is a surrealistic combination of details from different civilizations. Old symbols are joined with contemporary subjects. It is hard to say if he is contemporary or traditional. He is both. He is neither.
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