‘Making the Unfamiliar Familiar’ by Vera Kisseleva | Summer Exhibition Series presented by the Elora Mill
May 25 - July 9, 2023
‘Making the Unfamiliar Familiar’ | A solo exhibition by Vera Kisseleva | May 25 – July 9, 2023
Presented by the Elora Mill, in the gallery at the Elora Centre for the Arts
Opening Reception Sunday May 28, 2023 2-4PM | in the gallery at the Elora Centre for the Arts
Have you experienced moments when unfamiliar places look so familiar?
During my encounters with nature, I often find myself thinking about how nature in its pure form can awaken certain emotions, bring good memories and influence our well-being.
The unfamiliar place can become so familiar that it brings you back to the moments when you were happy. It can be memories from your childhood, when you were running barefoot on soft grass or were swimming in the sparkling water of the lake near your grandma’s cottage. Or moments when you enjoyed camping with your family watching beautiful sunsets away from the bustle of the city. It can even be a simple walk with your dog along a path in a shady park where sun is peeking through the green foliage of the mature trees, and it reminds you of the sun that used to filter through clouds when you lay on the grass staring carefree up at the sky.
A few months ago, I had some visitors come to my studio. They were actively discussing one of my paintings. When I asked them to share their thoughts with me, they told me that the painting reminded them of the place they visited some time ago in Nova Scotia. The woman remarked “It is exactly the same light we experienced on our holiday!” I was shocked, as it turned out it was the same place I painted the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia were we spent our family vacation last summer. I was flattered that I was able to convey the mood of this place and make it familiar in my painting, despite the fact that it only depicted tops of the pine trees and the setting sun.
That essence of familiarity is the intangible and magical thing that connects us all to each other. We are all different people, with different life experiences and different joys and sorrows, however somehow, in the magic of finding those things where we are similar, we find the glue that connects us.
I’m fascinated about change of seasons and how each season brings something extraordinary to our lives and thus affects our feelings, emotions and wellbeing. Spring cheers us with warm sunshine and pleasant aroma of the blooming trees. Spring often awakens romantic feelings and gives us hope for a brighter future. During summer we usually spend enormous amounts of time outdoors hiking, kayaking, swimming, cycling and more. Nature is giving as the opportunity to reduce stress and boost our energy level. Most people don’t appreciate winter, although winter gives us the opportunity to slow down a little bit, to reflect and make new life goals. There is something meditative about being in a forest after snowfall where you can enjoy terrific silence and unique sounds of the winter forest. I believe that Autumn is the most spectacular time of the year. The quiet whisper of autumn trees, the rustle of dry leaves and the beautiful view of the reflection in an autumn lake evoke nostalgia for our best and brightest memories.
When you immerse yourself in nature, whether it is a walk through the forest or relaxing on the lake, are you being present in the moment, being curious, paying attention to the little details? Making the unfamiliar familiar is a challenge to look at things with new eyes, to find something you recognize in those things that aren’t familiar. It could be as simple as a shift in our mindset to be okay with change and those things that aren’t known to us. To find glimpses of our past within new experiences, to look for similarities in the world around us could be the secret to feeling more connected to one another, and to our own history.
About the Artist
Vera Kisseleva is an established award-wining artist best known for her paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape and nature’s dazzling colours that she believes are a great joy to experience and share with her collectors. Born in Russia, Vera studied fine arts in college and worked for years as a graphic designer and commercial artist. She is a Canadian painter, now based in Fergus, Ontario where she is inspired by the visual splendor of her new home. She has been a member of the Elora Fergus Studio Tour since 2019.
Vera has been a full-time artist for the last six years and in that short time has established herself as an accomplished landscape artist with collectors in North America, Europe, Australia and Russia.
Inspired by her travels, Vera Kisseleva uses Canadian landscape as both a backdrop and inspiration trying to express something that catches her eye at a specific point in time. She spends a lot of time outdoors hiking, cycling, and kayaking to experience and capture dramatic moments that happen constantly in nature. Even though the Canadian landscape she paints can be utterly familiar to many, every place she visits is unique and different based on the time of the day, weather, and the season.
Vera works mainly in acrylics and uses bold, vibrant colors in her work and thick brush strokes. Most of her pieces are done in her studio from a photograph and a memory of her recent natural encounters.
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