Originally from Odessa, Ukraine, Iliya immigrated to the United States in the early 1990's with his family. From a young age Iliya pursued training in the arts in the Russian academic tradition. He studied in LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Art and in the Bridgeview School of Fine Arts in New York under the tutelage of professors trained in the art academies of the former Soviet Union. Iliya studied in St. Petersburg, Russia in the prestigious I.E. Repin State Institute of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture from which he received his Masters of Fine Arts degree in painting. He has been recipient of a number of prestigious scholarships and awards both in the United States and in Russia, winning the "First Place" award in the American Portrait Society's International Portrait Competition. He was also awarded the first place in the IconBay sculpture competition, where he was picked to execute his design for a large outdoor sculptural installation in Miami. In 2014, Iliya was selected to be an instructor for Dacia Gallery's Artist Residency Program in Sibiu, Romania. In 2018, Iliya began a teaching position at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida and is also currently featured as a fine art instructor on the New Masters Academy instruction website.
Sheba Sharrow (1926 - 2006): Sharrow's personal art exemplifies an artist with eyes wide open. Her expressionist paintings abstract humanity using masterful execution, poetically engaging us with topics such as mortality, desire, vulnerability, power, warfare and spirituality.
As an artist, figurative painter Sheba Sharrow bore witness to human suffering, struggle and liberation. She was a child of the Great Depression and World War II, a participant in the social justice movements of the 1960s and '70s, saw the bloody roads walked for civil rights and the damages wrought by wars.
Born in Brooklyn in 1926 to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, Sheba Sharrow grew up in Chicago and earned her BFA at the Art Institute of Chicago, studying with Boris Anisfeld and Joseph Hirsch. She continued her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and earned an MFA at the Tyler School of the Arts at Temple University. She has been considered part of the "Chicago School" of imagist painters, fitting generationally into the "Monster Roster" group of artists from that city, including the most well-known of her classmates to lead the charge of image and ideas over pure abstraction, Leon Golub and Nancy Spero. A resident of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Sharrow died in 2006.
Sharrow's unique style of storytelling and her occasional use of poetic text stand her apart. Her artistic intentions were deeply intellectual. "As long as the world is going the way it is going, I cannot stop doing what I have been doing," Sharrow told The New York Times in 2002. She lamented, "We cannot seem to get it right.
Through a vigorous and poetic hand, her work reflects on brutality and simultaneously pays homage to the animating power of solidarity, warning us: Remember, history's tragedies repeat.
Narazyan's epic and intimate paintings are arguably amongst the most important works to surface and still develop from the repression of the former Soviet Union. With a style blending old-world images with futuristic visions, the artist creates a world of mystery and enchantment for the viewer to explore. Narazyan, born 1957 in Kislovodsk, Russia and currently residing in the Ukraine, graduated Kharkiv Art Institute and developed a style underground, now coined romantic fantasy, as part of the historical Non-conformist Art Movement. Today, the artist's work is represented in museum and private collections around the world including the Zimmerli Art Museum's Dodge Collection.
Although Socialist Realism suppressed the influences of contemporary artistic movements within itself, Socialist Realism fostered its own unique diversity. Russian artists, like the masters before them, expressed themselves not by evolving to meet artistic movements of their time, but by becoming the absolute best within their specific painting genres. Russian Realism painting, based in part on the studied principles of French Impressionism, developed and honed plein-air academic painting ideals under a closed society for generations; it is now becoming discovered and lauded by the Western world. Achieving excellence through complete artistic integrity and ultimate devotion to their "Immortal Beloved"—the art of painting—artists of Moscow's School of Russian Realism exhibit distinct perception of color and outstanding color relationships that trademark their pedigree of traditional Russian painting. The works in this collection represent the paintings the artists created from their hearts, in their free time. At these moments, they painted for themselves, to find the truth and beauty in their subjects; in turn, they found their greatness. These are painter's paintings. Russian Realism art has created a lasting legacy and a universal connection beyond its origins and is considered to be one of the most important realism movements of the 20th century.
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