Irena Tone – How to Make Beautiful Not Boring
Sculpture, figurative painting, abstraction – all of this is being created by a young Israeli artist Irina Antonyuk (creative pseudonym is Irena Tone), who currently lives and works in Kyiv with her husband, sculptor Ros Kozhman.
The art of Irena Tone
Irena is often looking for new forms and ways to get her message across in her works (to be honest, it bribes me when artists do not stay at one satisfactory point for a long time but search via experimenting with new materials and exploring new ways of expressing their artistic thoughts).
Thus, trying to find a way to transfer volume on the plane of a painting without spending much time creating it, and get the desired visual effect in the end, Irena Tone has turned to new material for herself – polyurethane. This is a modern technological material, which, however, is not so often used in contemporary art practices. Due to such properties as endurance and plasticity, as well as her own ways of working with polymers, the artist was able to achieve the effect of glossy and ‘puzzle-like’ volume – these works immediately attract attention and make you wonder what these paintings are made of and whether they can be touched.
In her polyurethane series, Irena works both with material images (in the ‘Animals’ series, we can see a print similar to cow skin pattern, and there is melted chocolate ice cream in the ‘Melted’ series), and abstraction in the ‘Colour Wheel’ and ‘Opacity’ series. The figurative images, however, are greatly simplified here, so they can be interpreted as an abstraction – then there are no more dark spots on white skin in front of you, but dark portals to another glossy universe, in which there are lots of glossy surprises.
Brilliance, smoothness, intense colours and the use of ‘banal’ images relate the polyurethane series to pop artworks; as if created in the world of gloss. Another similarity is the certain detachment and coldness of the depicted items: their visually industrial image as if ‘being made not by human hands’. The desire to touch the painting does not arise from the fact that you want to feel the warmth – it does not seem to exist in polyurethane works. This desire is more due to the interest in learning what these visually intriguing paintings are made of and how they are ‘assembled’.
With all the bold glossiness of the paintings, however, each work from the polyurethane series is perfectly reconciled and aesthetically pleasing – there is the courage of the material in them, but no meaningful, ‘narrative’ provocation. Irena Tone’s polyurethane worlds are not a revolution, but a new way to uncover the aesthetics of simple things, an attempt to comprehend both light and serious topics without theatrics and in dimensional language: by September 2020, Irena is preparing a series of works for the WOMAN’S ESSENCE 2020 programme, Italy.
Irena Tone’s Sculpture Work
The plane of a painting is not the only field for non-standard methods. Together with her husband, sculptor Ros Kozhman, Irena creates three-dimensional objects as well: sculptures and installations. Their ‘Balance’ sculpture, 167 cm high, consists of 13 golden balls made of metal and coated with acrylic paint. 13 balls of different sizes, balancing on each other, express the fragile nature of equilibrium: how to maintain a balance with many ‘participants’, whether the idea of the existence of such an essential balance is now realistic, how difficult it is to be kept, and how easy it is to be destroyed. Since the two are involved in the process of creation of these works, the dialogue nature is being reflected in the three-dimensional objects. This is evident in the balance and the choice of colour, the harmony of forms and the delicacy of artistic expression.
I refer Irena and Ros to the category of artist-researchers who are open to experiments in their artistic practices, and who are always and unexceptionally ‘respectful of the material’.
If there are three words to describe their joint art, we should refer to the words ‘aesthetics’, ‘experiment’ and ‘curiosity’. It is interesting to observe how the works of the couple are going to evolve further.