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James Yarosh Associates Fine Art Gallery Hosts Works by Iliya Mirochnik March 26–June 25

Mudcracked Houses

HOLMDEL VILLAGE, NJ — James Yarosh Associates Fine Art Gallery celebrates the Easter and Father's Day season with "Spaces Between," an exhibition featuring 14 new works by Iliya Mirochnik. The show opens the day before Easter, March 26, and runs through June 25, 2016.

Mirochnik's use of personal subject matter and auto-biographical elements in this series from 2014–15 resonate with viewers as parallels with our shared life journeys.

"'Spaces Between' is about a heightened understanding of personal change – not only an attempt to clarify and understand the world inside and out, but to try to grasp the mode of understanding itself," the artist says. "I approached this borderline position of emotions and allusions as if I was that custodian racing through the museum of his own perceptions, 'seeking order and sanctuary for its treasures, before closing time,' in the words of literary critic George Steiner.'"

One of the featured works, "Mudcracked Houses," reflects upon the effects and results of World War II, and was in part inspired by T. S. Eliot's "The Wasteland." (A line from the epic poem is referenced as the title.) The painting, with its palette of soft yellows and pinks, depicts two subjects simultaneously: the facade of a war-ravaged building in Potsdam, Germany, and an altar crucifix and statuary that remained in the chapel and survived World War II to tell its own passion play yet again, over and over through time.

"Mudcracked Houses" was influenced by the artist's trip to Berlin and Potsdam. "The painting speaks to an inability to discern between past and present," Mirochnik says. "It strives to stop the mind from spinning, if only for a moment, as it tries land on stable ground in a cyclically collapsing and regenerating world." Although the subject is religious, the work is more about the eternal aspects of sculpture and monuments – "things that might outlast us," he says.

Yarosh was moved by this painting that so eloquently depicts the frailty of life and notes that the subject matter of the Crucifixion is ubiquitous in museums worldwide. "It takes bravery for an artist to tackle such iconic imagery and, for me, Iliya's version is filled with sensitivity and empathy," Yarosh says. "Depicting broken buildings against broken hearts inspired from unbroken sculptures that bring the story of life and death down from the Cross captures the unspeakable grief confined to the silence of a painting. It shows the power of what art can do for us and gives us a safe place to channel our emotions."

To bring the art-collecting journey full-circle, Yarosh worked with one of his gallery frame carvers to create an original hand-carved 22 kt gold-leafed frame design for "Mudcracked Houses." "I wanted to marry the greatness of the artist's work with a museum-worthy frame that reflected the work contained within," says Yarosh. Determining that a French design would be "too pretty," Yarosh considered that Rococo would be a more fit match. He poured through historical frame books and was surprised to discover the frame with the perfect design for "Mudcracked Houses" had originated in Potsdam.

"It was one of those magical moments where the artist painted the subject so authentically that I was able to pick up on those fine points and marry it to a frame inspired from that region," Yarosh says.
"The outstretched corners of the frame pull outwards – narrowing and then bursting with strength at the corners – reflecting the pageantry shown within its borders."

Additional subplots in the frame include the carving of roses, which are laid in sympathy at the corners and are symbolic of the rosary. The liner features life-sized lily of the valley engravings in the corners and extending further up the right side of the frame. This visually continues the line of motion cast by the arm of the Mary Magdalene statue, which is flung in despair, and invites the motion to spill off the canvas and, in doing so, marries it to the frame. The tiny buds also echo the bowed head of the Christ, who is referred to in the Bible as a "lily of the valley." The classic traditional carving of the frame was finished in a polished gold reminiscent to an altarpiece and of iconography. Keeping in mind that this is a modern painting and should harmonize with the time of the frame, Yarosh kept the frame's antiquing to a minimum.

Another painting, "Fathers and Sons," tells a very different Patriarchal story.

The largest painting in the series, "Fathers and Sons" is a reflection on the relationship between Mirochnik's father and himself, expressed as a disorienting double-portrait. "It is a painting about a changing relationship, about heredity, about home," the artist says.

"The paintings in this series resonate quietly and reveal themselves the longer you invest in them," Yarosh says. "'Fathers and Sons' has successfully blurred lines between the two images and is rendered in a way that the viewer almost cannot distinguish where parts begin and end. It's a remarkable and thoroughly modern piece. It's one of the best contemporary paintings I've seen in quite some time."

Critics agree. "Fathers and Sons," along with several other pieces from Mirochnik's "Space Between" series, were featured in the Summer 2015 artist journal American Artists Quarterly; the painting was also featured in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine's "Three to Watch" column, which recognizes artists of note. This year, Mirochnik will add to his resume teaching appointments and residencies in Austria, Paris, Florence and New York.

Also part of the show's offerings is a collection of works on paper, smaller compositional studies of the larger paintings on exhibit. These works allow viewers to get a glimpse into understanding the artist's process.

James Yarosh Associates Fine Art Gallery is located in the loft space of the former 1917 firehouse in historic Holmdel Village, N.J., and is open to the public every Saturday, 12–4pm and weekdays and evening hours by appointment. The paintings in Mirochnik's new series "Spaces Between" continue a common theme of the works exhibited at Yarosh's gallery – whatever their source and the emotions they conjure, the artworks always favor beauty in the end.

About Iliya Mirochnik
Iliya Mirochnik, who was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and now lives in Brooklyn, is credited by Yarosh for his ability to connect the Russian aesthetic with American sensibilities. Mirochnik studied at the Repin in St. Petersburg, Russia. The rigorous training he received has earned this young artist recognition on these shores and beyond, such as First Place in the International Portrait Competition sponsored by the Portrait Society of America.

About James Yarosh Associates
James Yarosh Associates, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, offers complete art services, which include in-home consultation for framing and placement of original fine art. A published interior designer, James Yarosh credits his study of the world's greatest museums and artist's homes for his knowledge of art-inspired design. Using an artist's eye, Yarosh shares his expertise on how clients can live with art. Described as an 'Artist's Art Gallery,"James Yarosh Associates is critically acclaimed for representing international and regional fine art collections to private collectors and for serving as a resource to the interior design trade.

Artist Iliya Mirochnik in his studio with his series 'Spaces Between'. The 14 new works are now on view at James Yarosh Associates Fine Art Gallery opening March 26 - June 25, from Easter through Father's Day. | 732.298.2019