Video: The magic of rural everyday life in the paintings of the American artist Andrea Kovch
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
Simple rural life or ancient witchcraft? The paintings of the American artist Andrea Kovch attract the eye with coziness and provincial charm - and then reveal to the viewer many frightening details. Sad and aloof heroines of her works, surrounded by pets and wild forest guests - ordinary Michigan residents or ancient witches performing strange rituals in the American outback?
Andrea Kovch is undoubtedly one of the brightest artists of modern figurative painting. She was born in Michigan in 1986, and her entire work is imbued with images of the land where she grew up. Rural landscapes and architecture, beauty and cruelty of everyday life, superstitions and legends are reflected in her strange, disturbing and beautiful canvases.
Andrea began her creative career at the age of seventeen. At such a young age, she was already the owner of seven regional gold awards and two national gold medals of the prestigious Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program for creative adolescents, with enviable regularity she participated in creative exhibitions at different levels. Such an early start does not always mean further success, but in the case of Kovch, everything turned out as well as possible.
Every year she is on the list of the best young - or already established - artists in the United States, and her fame has become international. Today her work is featured in professional contemporary art publications and is in many museums and private collections, including the Grand Rapids Museum of Art, the Northbrook Library and the Brooklyn Art Library. Of course, Kovch's paintings belong to several art museums in her native Michigan. The artist calls her “entry into the world of museums” a dream come true. But most of all she is proud that her favorite singer - Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode - has an album with her works, because it was this music that most often accompanied their creation.
Kovch's creations have been compared with the paintings of Endu Wyeth, then with the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Without a doubt, what the artist creates is the purest phenomenon of the "American Gothic" genre, so beloved by writers and directors lately. America never had Gothic cathedrals and gloomy castles, but there were desert landscapes, loneliness and anxiety of the first settlers, rumors and urban legends, monstrous witch trials. All this is embodied in the works of the young artist. In addition, her paintings are classified as metamodernism - filled with symbols and metaphors, they invite the viewer on a journey through mysterious worlds and at the same time are devoted to the study of the human soul. Technically perfect and certainly beautiful, they are not at all designed to please the eye and rather frighten than delight.
Her acting characters are women (and therefore Kovch has earned recognition as a representative of feminist art) and animals. The heroines of Kovch's paintings are busy with their daily routines - preparing food, sharing a meal with each other, taking care of animals … or performing strange and terrible rituals, the meaning of which is known only to themselves? Their faces are bloodless and focused, their hair is disheveled - as if they were swept away by the same whirlwind that carried Dorothy from Kansas to Oz. From documentary evidence of rural life, Andrea Kovch's paintings turn into creepy visions, cute pets show toothy jaws, skulls are seen in the patterns of butterfly wings … Nature bursts into rural houses with all its beauty and ruthlessness, the wind of change turns everything upside down.
Since childhood, Andrea Kovch loved fairy tales, tangled magical stories, and as she matured, she herself became a storyteller - in her own way. She also loved trips out of town, to the farmhouse, which she now recreates in her mind when she wants to hide from everyday hardships. The artist is convinced that the meaning of her work is available to everyone, even though it is irrational and not put into words. The connection of everything with everything, the inseparability of nature and man, a world in which no one is ever left alone - this is the leitmotif of her work. She rarely thinks through the ideas of her paintings in advance, often the already created canvas surprises her herself. Kovch inspires everything around - the swaying of light curtains in the wind (a frequent motive in the work of Andrew Wyeth, with whom she is compared), the shadow of thin blades of grass, specks of dust in the rays of the sun …
All those pale red-haired women who inhabit her troubled world are real. These are Andrea's best friends. Each of them has something magical, each inspires and supports the artist for many years. Their friendship is a special spiritual bond, akin to a coven of witches, and the artist claims that she could not really capture a stranger on canvas. And at the same time, in each of her models, Andrea sees her reflection - after all, they also know all her thoughts, all facets of her personality, all emotional impulses just as well. The tearing off of the veils, the nakedness of the nerves is an important topic of her work, and that is why Andrea's favorite season is autumn, the time of bare branches and ominous omens. Autumn is the most productive time for the artist, every leaf trembling on a branch, every gust of wind creates in her imagination the images of the upcoming canvas.
Kovch believes that the task of an artist these days, as, indeed, always, is to express the inexpressible, the indefinite, those feelings and desires that people suppress for fear of being misunderstood or rejected. Such is painting for the artist herself - her “visual narratives” allow her to realize her hidden emotions and accept them. Painting is a form of psychotherapy. That is why near women with impassive faces in her paintings - animals, like familiar witches, grinning hyenas, hissing geese, birds beating their wings. They all symbolize forbidden feelings - fear, anxiety, aggression. This, of course, can scare the viewer. However, Kovch offers a different interpretation of his work. Where someone sees mystical horror, there is also liberation, beauty, strength - just like in nature, there is always life next to death.
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