Natasha Dikareva: Evolution of a Shell Dweller


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Abrams Claghorn Gallery
Opening reception: June 8, 5-7pm
Show runs June 1-30, 2019
1251 Solano Ave, Albany CA 94706
Phone: 510.526.9558
Artist Statement:
I started the Shell Dweller series in 2010. They grew out of a preoccupation with constant catastrophes and disasters around the world. I felt as if I would like to hide in my own shell to be safe. My first Shell Dwellers were pale and minimal in color palette. The symbols on their surfaces developed a visual narrative, communicating their personal myths and identities, their adventures through labyrinths and deserts, their encounters with other strange creatures.Later, as I mustered hope, my Shell Dwellers started to emerge from their homes. Their heads would still stay inside the shells, so as not be disturbed by the constant negativity of news media. Instead, they were tuning to their inner essence. Listening to the rhythm of their own organism, their skin developed new kinds of imagery. Their surfaces brightened up with colorful glazes, underglazes, custom made decals, and intricate China painting. Reminiscent of photographs slowly developing in the dark room, misty surfaces hinted at hidden layers.

By 2014 my Shell Dwellers completely lost their shells and moved to bathtubs to escape the frenzy and chaos. I called them Escapists. Tuning into the feminine element of water, they also immerse themselves in emotion, purification, intuition, the subconscious, and the mysteries of the self. The instruments of their immersion–books and digital devices–offered them a gateway to another reality. The surfaces of bathtubs and their bodies continued to hint at their inner existence, to depict the places of their fantasy and poetry of the books they read, to flash fleeting dreams.

Most recently I have been exploring glass blowing as a technique to incorporate translucent elements into my figures. The Shell Dwellers have transformed into Knights of Flowers and Clouds, whose armor is similarly protective yet they are less vulnerable and more active. Instead of simply hiding and ignoring their surroundings, these armored figures have set out on a quest for saving the ones in need, for beauty and poetry.