On display: May 1 - 31, 2015
In Pursuit of Happiness Paintings by Aleksandra Katargina (Touchstone Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Fellow 2013-2015)
Opening Reception: Friday, May 1, 6-8:30pm
Quick Portrait Event: Sunday, May 31, 2-4pm
For most of us, life is spent in a pursuit of happiness. But how can we obtain happiness? It is so easy to get trapped in the daily routine and squabble of life, which may or may not be fulfilling at all.
Aleksandra Katargina’s first solo show at Touchstone Gallery “In Pursuit of Happiness” consists of figurative paintings executed in the realist manner. Through exquisitely rendered imagery, Katargina opens up a dialogue about different definitions of happiness and multiple paths that might be taken in its pursuit. The artist focuses her exploration to two opposite trajectories on the course to happiness.
The first path is pressure relief, and it comes in many forms. For example, in Katargina’s painting “Three Wise Monkeys,” the focus is on the chase and the achievement of a goal—which becomes the sole purpose to life. In “Displacement of a Random Urbanite” the figure sinks into oblivion and the sweet embrace of slumber avoiding the reality of life. “Foolish Stargazers” hide deep emotional discontent surrounded by the artificial stars. These allegorical stories are seductively rendered, and suggest how widespread attempts to relieve pressure really don’t make one happy in the end.
The second path explored in this exhibit is one in which a person opens up and tries to become comfortable with oneself and one’s surroundings. This path is short if you are brave enough to face self imposed limitations. In “Lonely Melody” time becomes still and the music of one’s heartstrings spreads through the night. It is a moment where loneliness turns into a moment alone with one’s inner world. “Rain” washes away the grime of everyday and the figure shines with joy of simply being. “In Pursuit of Happiness,” comes alive with splashes color and movement; it is the spirit of childhood at play, a moment of pure bliss.
With the mastery of techniques and the deep philosophical subtext Katargina’s show is a visual feast and a subject for contemplation.
Aleksandra Katargina was born in 1987 in Moscow, Russia. In 2001 she moved to the United States. Her love for drawing and creativity started from the time her fingers could grasp the colored crayons Aleksandra has received BFA at Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009 and MFA at Towson University in 2013. Her work has been in numerous group exhibitions in the area and can be found in private collections