February 26, 2016 – April 2, 2016
Thoughts of Home – Cultural Identity and the Evolution of an Artist
A Point of View exhibition curated by Constance Richards
Opening Reception: Friday, March 4th, 5pm – 8pm
Tea & Talk with Curator: Monday, March 21st, 4pm – 6pm
From February 26th to April 2nd, 2016, the AAAC Gallery in partnership with Asheville Sister Cities, Inc. will be showcasing works by the late Vadim Bora, and a sampling from colleagues in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia (the late Murat Kaboulov, Natalia Abaeva and Akhsar Esenov). This Point of View exhibition curated by Constance Richards will feature sculpture, paintings, and applied arts.
This exploratory exhibition examines the narrative work of Vadim Bora and three fellow-Vladikavkaz artists (Asheville’s first Sister City in the Caucasus Mountains of Southern Russia). Several never-before seen works of Bora that have been in private collections, as well as large commissioned pieces, sculptures, stained glass design, and jewelry) some appearing for the first time — each thematically connect to “Thoughts of Home.”
Curated by the artist’s widow, Constance Richards, the exhibition explores “what is home” to an artist who has physically left “home.” Is it simply a place, a state of mind? And how does the concept change the longer one is away and when does the new physical settlement become home? The exhibition is a look at the notion of home through the eyes of those who have wandered far…and compared to those who never left.
While Vadim Bora was known for his public art sculptures, expressive oil portraits, satirical pen and ink drawings, lush landscapes and nudes, it is his exuberant narrative works depicting allegorical village scenes, informed by his growing up in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia, that are so recalled by many.
This ongoing body of work referenced memories, village tales, traditions, fables and the mythos of the North Ossetia region where Bora lived for much of his life. While Bora left his home briefly for higher learning (St. Petersburg, then called Leningrad) and ultimately for the U.S., settling in Asheville in 1993, the exploration of the “home” theme continued until his untimely passing in 2011.
Likewise, the connection to home appeared often in colleague Murat Kaboulov’s work. Some 17 years Bora’s senior, the artist had moved from Vladikavkaz to Nashville in 1992. Passing only five months before Bora, Kaboulov also left a formidable legacy of artworks, curated largely now by his widow Marina Kaboulova. Several large-scale works depicting village celebration and reverie are showcased in the exhibition.
Curator Richards invited two additional artists to participate in the exhibition, Natalia Abaeva and Akhsar Esenov, both of whom visited Asheville ten years ago with a grant through the Open World program via Asheville Sister Cities that Richards helped organize.
These young artists, decades younger than the two aforementioned masters, explore “Thoughts of Home” from a different point of view. Abaeva now lives in Bulgaria, but easily traverses the borders, having moved only recently. Esenov lives in Vladikavkaz and exhibits his paintings throughout Europe. Their world of home is a different world entirely than that of Bora and Kaboulov at the time they left. Thoughts of Home – Cultural Identity and the Evolution of an Artist examines how all these factors affect the artists work, process and lifeblood.