Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak “Nevermore”

The Ukrainian Institute of America, Inc.

poster for Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak “Nevermore”

This event has ended.

Where has that life gone, and what has become of all that awful torment
and torture? Will it really be that no one will answer for everything that
happened; that it will all be forgotten without any words to commemorate it;
that the grass will grow over it?
– Vasily Grossman

The Ukrainian Institute of America presents an exhibition of mixed-media artworks by Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak.

Bodnar-Balahutrak explores identity and cultural ties, initiating a discourse about one’s place in the world by piecing together fragments of text, narrative, and figuration. The artist’s work is both a visual documentary of pivotal world events – particularly in Ukraine – and an ongoing exploration of the nature of language and behavior. They begin as extensive collages of clipped newspaper articles and photos, collected mementoes and keepsakes, arranged in a sort of self-perpetuating dialogue, over which she applies charcoal, paint, and wax. The process of layering words, images, and various media reflect the artist’s deep interest in how experiences submerge, resurface, and unravel over time.

The exhibition’s title, Nevermore, invokes the refrain from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven and asks: does history repeat itself? To answer, the artist’s work beckons to acknowledge, to discuss, to commemorate what has happened in the past and what is happening now, and not just “let the grass grow over it.”

In the spring of 1991, Ms. Bodnar-Balahutrak was awarded an IREX grant to travel to her ancestral homeland for the first time. Subsequently, she made additional trips to Ukraine that included a visit to the Chornobyl Zone in 1996, which left a lasting impression of nature’s power of reclamation – simultaneous shrouding and healing. Images of roots breaking through concrete and vines growing over wreckage have remained recurring visual motifs for the artist. In recent small mixed-media works on paper, animals enact
human nature in fable-like parables.

Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio by parents who emigrated from Ukraine after World War II. She earned a BS in art education from Kent State University, and an MFA in painting from George Washington University, in conjunction with the Corcoran School of Art.

Bodnar-Balahutrak exhibited with numerous national and international museums and galleries. A monograph of her work was published in 2005. In 2012, the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts (Spring, TX) presented a survey exhibition of projects spanning two decades. Her most recent solo exhibition, Nature Studies, at the Hunter Gather Project Gallery in Houston, centered on the current socio-political climate of Ukraine.

Her artworks are included in the permanent collections of Oxford University, England; Museo D’Arte Dell’ Universita Cattholica, Rome, Italy; Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts; University of Houston; Tyler Museum of Art; Amarillo Museum; El Paso Museum of Art; The Art Museum of South Texas; The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago; The Ukrainian Museum, New York, among others.

Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak lives and works in Houston, where she currently teaches at the Glassell School of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

The Ukrainian Institute of America, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the art, music and literature of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora. It serves both as a center for the Ukrainian-American community and as America’s “Window on Ukraine,” hosting art exhibits, concerts, film screenings, poetry readings, literary evenings, children’s programs, lectures, symposia, and full educational programs, all open to the public. Founded in 1948 by William Dzus, inventor, industrialist, and philanthropist, The Ukrainian Institute is permanently housed in the Fletcher-Sinclair mansion at 2 East 79th Street and Fifth Avenue. The building is designated as a National Historic Landmark and protected as a contributing element of the New York Metropolitan Museum Historic District.



from May 15, 2015 to June 14, 2015
Exhibition hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12-6pm, or by appointment.

Opening Reception on 2015-05-15 from 18:00 to 20:00

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