Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The 5 Artists Project: Mirjana Ugrinov

Mirjana Ugrinov. Stones Installation. 2008.

I first met Mirjana Ugrinov, an interior designer and artist, through the Cool Globes Project, promoting environmental awareness of global warming through art. I interviewed her on ArtStyle Blog in September, 2007, and she eventually blogged for ArtStyle. For The 5 Artists Project, Mirjana has created an installation to represent her collaboration with poet Cynthia Hogue.

Mirjana Ugrinov. Summer Draught. 2008. Mixed media, 60" x 38".

For her Stones Installation, Mirjana incorporates real stones into her mixed-media paintings -- putting some in cages and freeing others -- as a literal interpretation of Cynthia's poem, as well as providing symbolic escape routes such as ladders and perhaps doorways. Mirjana and Cynthia will continue to collaborate for the upcoming Poetic Dialogue project, curated by Beth Shadur, at the Chicago Cultural Center in 2009.

Mirjana Ugrinov. Purified. 2008. Mixed media, 36" x 24".

Excerpt from STONES, a poem by Cynthia Hogue

"I have a friend who imprisons stones.
How do you do that? I ask.
I build little cages and put them in.
And why do you imprison these stones?
They are immoral stones. I oversee
The purification of petrified beings

Mirjana Ugrinov. White Stone. 2008. Mixed media, 24" x 24".

"By using contemporary poetry as an inspiration for imagery, I continue to explore the surface and composition of my paintings. I welcome the challenge of another art form to guide me in visual expression by inviting new approaches to color, texture and materials I use. The emotional content of the poem becomes a vehicle of imagination and expansion."

Mirjana Ugrinov. Parthenon Stone. 2008. Mixed media, 10" x 10".

Mirjana Ugrinov. Petrified. 2008. Mixed media, 10" x 10".

The following is a write-up in the Chicago Connection: The 5 Artists Project catalogue, which was published in August, 2008.

Mirjana Ugrinov

Background - Interior designer and painter with more than 20 years of professional experience - Studied art history, Case Western Reserve Graduate School, OH; BFA, Studio Art, Kent State University, OH
- Teaching experience: Instructor of studio and commercial art and art history, Cooper School of Art, Cleveland, OH; Co-Director of Interior Design Department and Instructor, Virginia Marti Fashion Institute,Lakewood, OH
- Director of Coventry Art Gallery, Cleveland, OH, 1978-81; Consulting Board Member, ARC Cooperative Gallery, Chicago
- Gallery representation: Art Metro Gallery, Cleveland, OH; Bonfoey’s Galleries, Cleveland, OH; Brenda Kross Gallery, Columbus/Cleveland, OH; Teresa De Chant, Art Consultant, Cleveland, OH; Center of the Earth Gallery, Charlotte, NC
- Exhibiting since 1980

Selected Exhibitions
Free art for your wrists, mixed media bracelets, TransCultural Exchange Project, London Bienniale 2008; Contemporary Art by American Women, Art in Embassies Exhibit, Belgrade, Serbia, 2008; Poetic Dialogue, installation with Robin Behn, ARC Gallery, Chicago, 2008; Le Genie de la Bastille, Francois Cosson Studio, Paris, France, 2005; Edinburgh Art Festival, Patriothall Gallery, Scotland, 2005; A.I.R. Gallery, New York, 2005; Eyelounge Gallery, Phoenix, AZ, 2005; University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL, 2005; Chicago Cultural Center, 2003; East West Gallery, Cleveland, OH, 1993-1997

Working as a designer of commercial interiors with her husband, Branislav, at Ugrinov Associates, Inc., a space planning and design firm, Mirjana Ugrinov finds the time to create her own fine art in her studio. She walks about twelve blocks from her home to her studio, located a stone’s throw from the beach where she goes for inspiration when she needs it.

Growing up in the former Yugoslavia and then living in Ohio, and Chicago since 2001, she has incorporated nature, geography, landscape, and spiritual themes in her art. Her paintings and fiber art vibrate with vivid expressionistic colors. Working quickly, she uses acrylic paints mixed with various mediums to build layers and textures on the surface of her canvas. Sometimes she adds fibers and sand-like textures to her paintings. Her bold, warm-cool color combinations complement her mark-making and forms, giving them added depth. Recurring themes appear in many of her paintings, including geometric forms that look like doorways to hidden worlds.
In addition to painting, she is also a fiber artist and uses acrylic and manipulated paper: She wrinkles the paper, sprays it, manipulates it, dips it into acrylic, and moves the paint around to create a dimensional collage. Another aspect of her art is digital -- she draws and paints using software, a stylus and tablet to create high-resolution art.

More recently, she has begun to work with poets and uses the actual text of some of their poetry as part of her installation pieces. In her collaborative projects, she has written out the text, transferred it onto paper or canvas, and then used paint, medium, and fabric to complement the text. She thinks of these installations as two people collaborating in a “very specific way – two art forms fused and existing together.” She celebrates and honors the beauty of poetry in her own art.

Her Stones installation, inspired by a poem by Cynthia Hogue, consists of mixed media paintings and constructed boxes with real stone elements. The poem talks about “immoral stones, caged and imprisoned, kept on the shelf, near the window.” She has an intuitive ability to capture the metaphysical elements of text and bring them to life in her artwork.

1 comment:

steph b said...

Hi, I love your interview with Deb. I was a resident artist at the CPC in 2007. I loved it there and would still be there if I wasn't in grad school. There are about a million nice things I could say about Deb and her work but the one that stands out is her ability to bring people together. For this reason, the CPC is an amazing place to meet artists and make work.
I always took mental notes on the way she managed her career, her family life, and the print shop with such grace and enthusiasm. Something that I hope to do one day as well.
Great Blog! I can't wait to read more! :) Best, Stephanie Barenz