Olexander Wlasenko -- Just a Moment

October 26, 2011 to November 12, 2011

website: www.olexander.ca
representation: Abbozzo Gallery

Exhibition Statement

My studio production has consistently focused on a personal and investigative discourse surrounding drawings relationship with lens-based media in contemporary culture. I've specialized in one medium for the past fifteen years, pigment on paper. Pigment is the dry powder form of all paints. I use a pigment called Mars Black and I grind this fine powder into the surface of my paper. There is a range of black pigments available to artists: bone, lamp, ivory, vine and carbon black each with their own qualities. Mars Black is a wonderfully rich pigment which has a high iron oxide content. It literally rusts on the surface of the paper. The drawings mellow over time and become less contrasty.

I use only one tool--my index finger. I manually rub the pigment into the surface of the paper. This technique gives me the most control and somehow the warmth of the hand is transferred to each drawing.

Inspiration is often concealed in the pages of history or the reels of film I gather from. The images I draw from surface from the vast well-spring of historical sources. These can be vintage visual documents such as books, archives or old movies. This fascination with cinema stems from my upbringing. As a child of Ukrainian emigres, my studio production has consistently focused on the Eastern European experience in Canada. My father was an avid collector of Soviet-era Ukrainian cinema. I've culled from this familial archive of films for many years now.

If my earlier drawings were inspired by image banks close to home, I've recently turned to sources outside the personal realm. Lately, I've been culling from art house cinema from Italy , France and Sweden. I'm interested in the moment or single frame when the dramatic structure of the movie plot changes in an instant: a drowned victim is found, a woman discovers the infidelity of her husband, two lovers meet for the first time. Much like the movie stills, my drawings are free-standing islands with a myriad of possible interpretations and interconnections.

Artist Biography

Olexander Wlasenko has based his studio practice in Oshawa, Ontario after earning a Master of Fine Art at The University of Western Ontario in 2000. Prior to this, he graduated with distinction from the Ontario College of Art (OCA) in 1994, going on to complete a degree in Fine Arts at the University of Guelph. In his final year at OCA, Wlasenko was awarded the Eric Freifield Award. In 2001 and 2011, he won top prize at the national juried drawing exhibition organized at the John B. Aird Gallery. The artist was awarded Canada Council for the Arts Creation / Production Grants in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010 also regularly receiving grants from the Ontario Arts Council since 2001. In 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2006 the artist won Best Drawing Award at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. A solo exhibition of his drawings premiered at Barrie, Ontario's MacLaren Art Centre in fall, 2007. Wlasenko has exhibited extensively in Toronto and London, ON, nationally in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Dawson City, Yukon, and internationally in Florence, Italy and Kyiv, Ukraine. Olexander currently holds the position of Curator at Station Gallery in Whitby, Ontario since early 2008.