Natalka Husar: The Implication of Painting

Natalka Husar talked to Border Crossings in July of 2009 about her earliest work with something short of complete satisfaction in the recollection and reiterated what fellow artists, senior and acclaimed painters among them, say. “I’m learning all the time. There’s something about painting–it takes so long to learn and to do, but I’ve always had something to say, I’ve always wanted to say something and I learned how to paint in order to say it.”

American critic Barry Schwabsky wrote the introductory essay for *Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting *(Phaidon, 2002). He set up painting’s current parameters, writing that, “we should not overlook what gives painting its specific importance to art in general–its engagement not so much with the eye as is sometimes thought, but with the body of both the maker and the viewer.”

Not only is Natalka Husar’s presence on the canvas evident as architect and facteur in that painted marks are seen and sensed as visceral things, but she is herself there in the guise of her alter ego subjects, and also as generator of the narratives that are both personal and close to her roots. Hand and heart are visible. “I’m embarrassed to say how earnest I am as a painter,” she said. “I don’t take anything as seriously as I take my work.” …

Husar’s cultural roots are in Ukraine, the country where her parents were born and from which they emigrated as young adults. Husar has travelled there many times, but in her earliest work, her subject was a transposed North American reading of cultural influences. The more recent work presents a post-Soviet, post-Orange Revolution Ukraine. Some of the paintings are gentle parodies–her own Daumier or Hogarth–some are social record and annotation; all are attentive to detail and all are gilded by the affection familiarity brings when impelled by generosity …

See Issue 111 to read the entire article!

Volume 28, Number 3: Paint

This article originally appeared in Border Crossings #111, published August 2009.

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