Childhood Dreams Show – September 2016 – Creations Gallery, New York City
Like any other child growing up in the former Soviet Union, I loved the animated series broadcast regularly on TV. The hilarious stories of the wolf chasing the rabbit, of the two mice bullying the friendly cat Leopold, and of the sad crocodile Ghena continuously engaged my imagination.
In a propagandistic society where conformity was key, the beloved characters had unique and strong personalities. Playful and assertive, they were my childhood companions.
After moving to New York in 2008, I discovered the pop-surrealist, lowbrow movement, and was strongly attracted to the stylized figurative art containing American pop culture references. Reflecting back at the pop culture I grew up with, it became very clear that Soviet cartoons were at the center of it. Under tight censorship, the artists and creators of the cartoons managed to insert subversive messages, ridiculing state authority, mocking social conformity, and celebrating individualism.
Life in New York, combined with childhood memories, resulted in a series of graphite drawings and digital paintings, Childhood Dreams. The big-eyed, doll-like girls engage with the classic cartoon characters in familiar contemporary settings such as over a martini on a Hawaiian beach, on a gritty graffiti covered urban street, in a massage parlor, on a luxury sailboat, in a camping site, and on a balcony with a sunset view.
The American viewer may recognize several of the characters from internationally known stories, such as “Winnie-the-Pooh,” “The Bremen Musicians,” and “Karlson on the Roof” in alternative representations.
Where There Is No Rain
Wolf and I
Good Night, Kiddo
Fly Away With Me