Friday, 10 January 2014

Isupov's universal narrative

'Saint Valentine'
US-based Russian sculptor Sergei Isupov skillfully
pushes the narrative potential of clay through compact sculptures
incorporating evocative illustrations; stunning artworks related
both to the aesthetics of traditional Russian art and modern
illustration that explore the dynamics of the human condition
questioning issues of identity, sexual behavior 
and personal connections.

'Belief and Hope'
Born in Stavropol, southern Russia, Sergei studied at the
Ukrainian State Art School in Kiev graduating later on from
the Art Institute of Tallin, Estonia where he earned BA/MFA
degrees in ceramic art. Immigrated to the USA, he settled in
Richmond, Virginia, before moving to Cummington, close
to the Berkshire Hills area in western Massachusetts, where
he partnered with Leslie Ferrin - his former representative
and founder of the Ferrin Gallery - in 'Project Art', a live/work
compound hosting resident artists, exhibitions and 
potluck suppers, where he now lives and works.

'Dangerous Friendship'
'Free Ride'
Isupov's compelling artworks are imbued with social, cultural
and personal subjects: he also works in charcoal and gouache
uniquely integrating his two-dimensional imagery with ceramic
sculptural forms. ”I am a student of the universe and a participant
in the harmonic chaos of contrasts and opposites: dark-light;
male-female; good-evil. Working instinctually and using my
observations, I create a new, intimate universe that reveals
the relationships, connections and contradictions as I perceive
them. I find clay to be the most versatile material and it is well
suited to the expression of my ideas. I consider my sculptures
to be a canvas for my paintings. All the plastic, graphic and
painting elements of a piece function as complementary 

parts  of my work” Sergei's artistic statement reads.

'Collection of Experiences'
'The Challenge' back view
”The essence of my work is not in the medium or the creative
process, but in the human beings and their incredible diversity.
When I think of myself and my works, I'm not sure I create them,
perhaps they create me” he declares with emphatic effect.
His latest works - a body of 14 sculptures produced at 'Project
Art' called 'Call of the Wild' - have been showcased in a solo
exhibition at Barry Friedman Ltd. in New York last year.

'Love Affair'
'Farewell to the Theater'
The series of figural narratives investigates the constant dualities
of life through ”elaborate surface designs” that ”morph effortlessly
into three-dimensional hands, arms, legs and feet. They spread
onto the underside of every bust, where highly detailed, meticu-
lously rendered, and dream-like vignettes are concealed. These
unexpected illustrations act like private thoughts and dreams of
the subconscious mind. Sergei's Isupov's sculptures take on lives
and personalities of their own. They communicate with the 
viewer through thoughtful expressions and personal stories 
worn on the surface of their skin.” 

Sergei Isupov at work, photo © by Project Art

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