Library art exhibit is an all-female family affair

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The Oak Park Library Art Gallery is featuring a three person exhibit by a family of artists: mother Dzvinka Stifel and daughters Nina Ulana and Tatiana Weinstein. As a show, it perhaps doesn't quite hold together, because the three bodies of work have so little in common. Ulana is exhibiting abstracts; Weinstein, portraits and Stifel, landscapes. Taken separately, though, each artist has contributed beautiful work.

Ulana's series of abstracted ginkgo leaves reminds me of the fascination I had for ginkgo trees as a child. Each of the four ginkgo leaves she outlines is a little different. The dividing gap in the middle shifts location or there's none at all. "Abstract Ginkgo #4" is a real surprise, with two gaps instead of one, as if the leaf were trying a little too hard to be different.

All we're actually seeing here is the shape of the leaf set over highly geometric patterns. The colorsâ€"deep blues, greens and purplesâ€"suggest moving beyond the surface into watery depths. This would represent the unconscious, as geometry also often represents spiritual realms. It's as if the leaves, the physical bodies, so to speak, have become transparent lenses, allowing us to view the souls within.

The natural variations of the leaves themselves are minor; the differences in the patterning underneath might appear minor at first, but they give each leafâ€"each pictureâ€"a very different feel at a deeply intuitive level.

For instance, "Abstract Ginkgo #3" and #1 both favor squares and triangles, yet in #3 the lines are woven together, creating a feeling of tight cohesion, like a woven rug. In #1, the squares are kept separate, stacked one atop the other, like a building that's being put up brick by brick. #2 and #4, by contrast, emphasize circles and lines. While the squares give a more physical, man-made feeling, the circles feel airy and ethereal, like bubbles floating through the sky. It wouldn't be difficult to imagine different personality types in these various patterns.

Weinstein has done a series of portraits of women who've inspired her. As a conception for an exhibit, this may be a bit of a cliche, but there are some interesting pieces among them, particularly Billie Jean King and Georgia O'Keefe. Both women have been caught in action, instead of in traditional head-on poses.

King is reaching up with her tennis racket about to hit a ball. The tense curves of her body complement the expression on her faceâ€"turned up, gaze focused, mouth slightly ajar. What makes the picture so interesting is that it captures a rare and passing moment we don't normally get to see so closely.

The portrait of O'Keefe creates a feeling of suspense. She's looking to the side and down, instead of straight on, as if she's looking down at something out of view. There's a big smile on her face, which feels very spontaneous and uncontrived. The viewer is left to speculate about what might have caught her attention.

Stifel's landscapes aren't exactly original, as landscapes usually aren't, but they are well done. She paints flowers, country roads, rivers and fields. "Pink Rose" is perhaps the most interesting piece. It captures all the brilliance of a pink rose in full flower, but against a very dark background, suggesting night. It's a soulful painting, full of longing, as if the very beauty of the flower is causing it to be lit from within.

This three artist exhibit is available for viewing through March 31 at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St. The hours are Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Frida

Library art exhibit is an all-female family affair

photo courtesy of Debby Preiser

Above, Nina Ulana's "Abstract Ginkgo #1." At right, Tatiana Weinstein's "Billie Jean King."

 

The Oak Park Library Art Gallery is featuring a three person exhibit by a family of artists: mother Dzvinka Stifel and daughters Nina Ulana and Tatiana Weinstein. As a show, it perhaps doesn't quite hold together, because the three bodies of work have so little in common. Ulana is exhibiting abstracts; Weinstein, portraits and Stifel, landscapes. Taken separately, though, each artist has contributed beautiful work.

Ulana's series of abstracted ginkgo leaves reminds me of the fascination I had for ginkgo trees as a child. Each of the four ginkgo leaves she outlines is a little different. The dividing gap in the middle shifts location or there's none at all. "Abstract Ginkgo #4" is a real surprise, with two gaps instead of one, as if the leaf were trying a little too hard to be different.

All we're actually seeing here is the shape of the leaf set over highly geometric patterns. The colorsâ€"deep blues, greens and purplesâ€"suggest moving beyond the surface into watery depths. This would represent the unconscious, as geometry also often represents spiritual realms. It's as if the leaves, the physical bodies, so to speak, have become transparent lenses, allowing us to view the souls within.

The natural variations of the leaves themselves are minor; the differences in the patterning underneath might appear minor at first, but they give each leafâ€"each pictureâ€"a very different feel at a deeply intuitive level.

For instance, "Abstract Ginkgo #3" and #1 both favor squares and triangles, yet in #3 the lines are woven together, creating a feeling of tight cohesion, like a woven rug. In #1, the squares are kept separate, stacked one atop the other, like a building that's being put up brick by brick. #2 and #4, by contrast, emphasize circles and lines. While the squares give a more physical, man-made feeling, the circles feel airy and ethereal, like bubbles floating through the sky. It wouldn't be difficult to imagine different personality types in these various patterns.

Weinstein has done a series of portraits of women who've inspired her. As a conception for an exhibit, this may be a bit of a cliche, but there are some interesting pieces among them, particularly Billie Jean King and Georgia O'Keefe. Both women have been caught in action, instead of in traditional head-on poses.

King is reaching up with her tennis racket about to hit a ball. The tense curves of her body complement the expression on her faceâ€"turned up, gaze focused, mouth slightly ajar. What makes the picture so interesting is that it captures a rare and passing moment we don't normally get to see so closely.

The portrait of O'Keefe creates a feeling of suspense. She's looking to the side and down, instead of straight on, as if she's looking down at something out of view. There's a big smile on her face, which feels very spontaneous and uncontrived. The viewer is left to speculate about what might have caught her attention.

Stifel's landscapes aren't exactly original, as landscapes usually aren't, but they are well done. She paints flowers, country roads, rivers and fields. "Pink Rose" is perhaps the most interesting piece. It captures all the brilliance of a pink rose in full flower, but against a very dark background, suggesting night. It's a soulful painting, full of longing, as if the very beauty of the flower is causing it to be lit from within.

This three artist exhibit is available for viewing through March 31 at the Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake St. The hours are Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.

â€"Anna Poplawska

 

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