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Ekaterina Popova fills us in on her work, parallel to her Fall ‘22 exhibition with Phyllis Gorsen: "Outside In".

What initially brought you to art? I have always been creative. As a kid, I would use clay found by the pond bank, sew my Barbies clothes, and my favorite activity was coloring, much to my friend's dismay. I wanted to stay in and color when everyone wanted to go outside and play. Over time, especially when I moved to the US with my mom as a teen, I used art to accept this significant transition. Art has always been a way for me to escape, heal and process emotions. Eventually, with the encouragement of my high-school art teacher, Wendy Hall, I decided to pursue art professionally.

What imagery has historically interested you and why? I was drawn to the impressionists early on and always loved visiting museums in my hometown, Vladimir, and exploring Slavic folk designs. In addition, Russian fairytale illustrations, French impressionism, and Scandinavian children's literature were significant influences.

How has your process evolved in the last 5 to 10 years? My process is constantly evolving. I love to give myself space to experiment, learn new skills, and study the work of masters and contemporaries. In the beginning, the scale of my work was much smaller due to spacial constraints. I started by working with found images vs. painting from life and am constantly going back and forth, combining my references. The thing that stays constant is my love of creating a mood through color, whether I'm painting interiors or landscapes.

What, or who, has had the most influence on your work? Pierre Bonnard, Berthe Morisot, Chaggal, Matisse, Peter Doig and Lisa Yuskavage.

What has surprised you about your practice?

I think I was mostly surprised that people are constantly drawn to my interiors. I love painting them too, but I always get asked about my spaces. I still love experimenting with other subject matter, though :)

What is your identity at large? Do you think about this a lot in relation to your art? I'm a dreamer, a spiritual seeker. Art allows me to explore ideas, possibilities, and emotions and helps me expand as a human. Art teaches me to trust the process and be open to things turning out better than we can imagine.

What is your most precious takeaway from this exhibition. "Outside In"? It was an honor to work with James and have this show with Phyllis. I appreciated how James opened up the space for us and included installation elements with plants and grass to bring this exhibition together to create an immersive experience. It was so special to have the freedom to show my experimental work after being alone for two years during the lockdown. It was most remarkable to have the community come out to chat, support us and come together in person again.


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