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Jewish Journal

Russian Artists on Display

by Gene Lichtenstein

January 21, 1999 | 7:00 pm

It's common knowledge that the Jewish exodus from Russia in the late 1980s brought to Israel a flood of talented artists and musicians. Less well known is that many came to the United States as well. On Sunday, Jan. 24, the Simon Wiesenthal Center will spotlight the works of a half-dozen of these artists in a slide show and discussion, "An Afternoon with Jewish Artists from the Former Soviet Union."

You'll see the works, meet the artists, and marvel at the conundrum of a society that could help produce such brilliance, only to treat it so miserably. The program and slide show begin at 4 p.m., followed by a reception and viewing at 5:30. The artists featured are:

Vladimir Derkach: Born in Moscow in 1964, Derkach has already gained an international reputation for his intense, romantic studies of nature, landscapes and cityscapes.

Irine Fire: Artist, writer and illustrator, Fire began to draw only in 1991, but her work has already attracted the attention of collectors and galleries around the world. Her creations, saturated with color and cramped with images, buzz with warmth and light -- as if a lifetime of pent-up creative energy is bursting through in each canvas.

Zoya Ivnitskaya: She was already an acclaimed set and costume designer throughout the former Soviet Union when her paintings began to show at galleries in Moscow and Kiev. Her work uses elaborate color schemes and inspired detail.

Ann Krasner: A highly trained scientist in her native Moscow, Krasner had never picked up a brush until she received a set of watercolors as a present from her husband on her 30th birthday. Since then, Krasner has walked away with first prizes in art competitions, sold out gallery shows and been sought after by museums and galleries from Los Angeles to Paris. Her mostly large, allegorical works use bold colors and striking figures to explore themes of love, nostalgia and longing.

Alex Shagin: An internationally acclaimed coin designer and metal sculptor, Shagin combines his awesome technical skills with an eye for telling detail. His numerous works depicting significant events and outstanding individuals in history are coveted by collectors.

Peter Vegin: In his native Russia, Vegin was famous as both poet and painter. Though a critic of the Communist regime, he managed to publish 14 books of poetry, two of which he illustrated himself. His poetry is informed by images of the great painters, and his painting conveys much of the romance and precision of good poetry. -- Rob Eshman, Managing Editor

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