GALLERY STROLL: MIRA HNATYSHYNâ€™S "LINEAGE" AT CACTUS BRA
April 12, 2009, by Elda Silva, San Antonio Express-News
Itâ€™s close quarters at the Cactus Bra Space â€“ almost too close for comfort, and yet just right for â€śLineage â€” a Tudor Story,â€ť Mira Hnatyshynâ€™s multi-layered meditation on gender roles, human nature and the ties that bind.
Walking into the room, thereâ€™s an almost palpable tension between the figures in Hnatyshynâ€™s paintings and sculpture as the echoes of an old conversation â€” older even than the ruffed and corseted royals â€” continue to reverberate in the stark white of the modern gallery space.
Flanked by his daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth and third wife Jane Seymour, the overstuffed Henry VIII is instantly recognizable in â€śThe Tudors,â€ť a mixed media work. Sculpted fabric elements in the figuresâ€™ costumes give them substance, helping them break out of the canvas and out of then and into now. In the kingâ€™s case, the sculpted element also brings the source of much of the Tudorsâ€™ troubles into bold relief. Next to the king, Jane is softly blurred. Meanwhile, a painting of Elizabethâ€™s face on a panel is placed mask-like over the original figure of Prince Edward. (The kingâ€™s son with Jane and heir to the throne, Edward died in his teens.) In â€śQueen Takes Knight,â€ť Hnatyshyn uses the same visual device, obscuring Elizabethâ€™s face with a fragment of a portrait of Robert Devereux, the royal confidante who was ultimately executed for treason.
Hnatyshyn got the idea for the installation while researching painting from the period, including the work of Henry VIIIâ€™s court artist Holbein the Younger. The Tudorsâ€™ history resonated for her.
â€śI think itâ€™s really important to remember violence and all these things happening today are not specific to our time,â€ť Hnatyshyn says.
In some of the pieces, painting gives way to line drawing (or vice versa) and the canvas is sometimes stretched, other times in folds making the installation feel as if it is in medias res. Strands of thread literally tie all the elements in the installation together, a delicate reminder of the connections between people and between the past and present.
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MIRA HNATYSHYN AT ROBOT ART GALLERY
12 April 2006, by Lisa Moore, Voices of Art magazine, Vol.12, Issue 2
Times 12" a collection of paintings by Mira Hnatyshyn, draws its inspiration from the disturbing and disheartening events that shape the world today: civilians murdered in the streets of New York, Chechnya and Israel; persecution and exploitation of women in China; arrogance and avarice in Houston. Instead of creating literal representations of these horrific events, Mira uses them as a basis for a beautiful series of abstract paintings that range from delicate and melancholy to bold and exciting.
Each canvas contains within it (although undetectably) the news article that led to its creation. Mira then uses layers and layers of paint, combines glossy and matte finishes, and applies objects with different sizes and surfaces into her work. In several pieces, she has scratched into the wet paint to create deep, bold lines that distinctly and sometimes harshly define the boundaries of her images. The finished painting offers a striking degree of texture; the images seem to extend from the canvas.
The extraordinary texture in Mira's pieces is a result of her use of a variety of media. The artist uses layers over layers of paint, combines glossy and matte finishes, and incorporates paper pieces and objects of varying sizes and textures into her work. Within several of her pieces, Mira has scratched into the wet paint to create deep, bold lines that distinctly and sometimes harshly define the boundaries of her images.
Two artistic approaches divide the collection of 12 paintings, all of them 24 by 24 inches square. Muted colors, sparse backgrounds and a general feeling of loneliness characterize half of the collection. The figures are fluid, ethereal and vaporous. The others are filled with vibrant colors and bold, confident images.
"I'm not happy with homogenizing my work," Mira explained in a recent interview. "I hate it when everything looks the same and people categorize you. It limits what you can say."
One of the more subdued pieces is "2001". Paint has been layered on thickly and severely; a blue sky is depicted behind a slightly dirty, barren foreground from which emerges an indistinguishable, ghostly figure. The piece as a whole is soft, and flowing, but this figure is darker; foreign objects are pressed into the paint to create a thick, rough surface.
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Voices of Art Magazine
PAINTINGS' SHAPES SHIFT, EVOLVE
by Dan R Goddard, Metro, Pg 3G
Watching raindrops spread across an airplane window gave Mira Hnatyshyn the idea for her abstract black-and-white paintings.
She pours black paint on a white canvas and then uses her hands to tilt the canvas back and forth, allowing the paint to run and drip across the surface in an almost spontaneous way.
Her paintings, on exhibit at Salon Mijangos, 1906 S. Flores St., through Thursday, are a kind of Rorschach test. Different people will probably see different things - a shoreline, people holding their arms in the sky, clouds and tree branches. Flowing and suggestive of movement, the patterns also conjure river deltas, avalanches and ice dripping from a roof.
For Hnatyshyn, an accomplished realist artist, the patterns formed seem to represent her own internal struggles. Born in a suburb of Washington, D.C., she is the daughter of a Ukrainian father and a Polish mother who immigrated to the United States in the wake of World War II.
After moving to San Antonio with her husband three years ago, she began studying painting with Alberto Mijangos.
"He said that I could paint the world as I see it, but he was really trying to ... show me how to express how I feel," she said. "To me, this new work is very simple and free."
With titles such as "Collapsing," "Falling," "Converging" and "Following," Hnatyshyn's simple, suggestive paintings follow the pull of gravity, oozing over the surface of the canvas like a spreading blanket of black ice crystals. Direct and graphic, they have the ability to suit the impressions of each individual viewer.
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San Antonio Express-News