“Posed photographs of groups of people—families, classmates, workers, and friends—have been the major source of images for my paintings for some time. These photos appeal to me on several levels. We recently received an email from a client who was interested in our painting “The Way Back”. The entire message was lovely and thought provoking but one particular line stood out to me. It said “The saudade of your work is palpable and intoxicating.” This stood out mostly because not only did I have no idea what it meant but I had never even seen that word before. Google defines it as:
‘a Portuguese and Galician word that has no direct translation in English. It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.
Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again.’
Wow. While this is a shade darker than we generally intend, it is a mood that we’ve always reached for. The definition goes on to describe a feeling that is ‘happy and sad at once’, missing that which is gone but joyous that it was experienced at all.
Bless you, emailer, for adding to my vocabulary and giving me a deeper sense of what our work means.” – Signe
Race Day, 36x48, oilSigne and Genna Grushovenko $4500 - SOLD
Pensive Bather, 20x10, oil on masoniteSigne and Genna Grushovenko • $ 800 - SOLD
About the Artists
Partners in both life and art, Signe & Genna have been collaborating for nearly ten years.
Genna begins their process by applying rich layers of pattern and tone to gessoed masonite or linen supports. Signe then selects an inspiration image from their extensive collection of vintage found photos, draws with oil pastel atop the abstract underlayer using the photo for reference, and completes the image with blocky ‘panes’ of oil color.
The final results of their collaboration are multi-layered paintings with deep surfaces, crisp at first glance but rewarding the careful viewer with an undercurrent of complex tonality and colorplay.
Posed photographs of groups of people—families, classmates, workers, and friends—have been the major source of images for my paintings for some time. These photos appeal to me on several levels.
I am drawn to them first for their shapes and patterns. I love the repetition of arms, crossed legs, hairbows, shirt stripes. The little negative shapes between people prompt an almost puzzle-like approach to the painting, an ambiguity of space. One color may represent background, legs, blouses, and faces within the same piece. The fact that many of the source images are black and white allows me to impose my own abstract color without limitations.
Past the purely visual, the pictures have a tremendous emotional content. People sit or stand, usually tensed, concentrating on projecting the best of themselves. They look straight out at you. My photos are from as far back as the youth of my great-great grandparents, and from as far away as the former Soviet Union. They are cherished keepsakes of my family and discarded memories found at yard sales, flea markets, and in abandoned homes. No matter from what generation or country, be they of
ancestors, strangers, or friends, the pictures describe the same complex relationships, the same sense of pride.
I am an avid admirer of the American artists Romare Bearden, Jim Dine, Fairfield Porter, and Milton Avery. I strive through my own paintings to capture what is, in my opinion, so special about theirs…the sublime balance between the emotionality of the subject and the abstract nature of their surface, color, line, and brushwork. My ultimate goal is to produce a figurative painting that would be equally powerful were it purely nonrepresentational.
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