As part of its 25th anniversary programming, Traywick Contemporary proudly announces Empire, a solo exhibition with Los Angeles-based artist Stas Orlovski. The exhibition highlights Orlovski’s multi-faceted studio practice across a series of new drawings, paintings, sculptures and projected stop-motion animations.
Born in the former Soviet republic of Moldova, Orlovski’s work is a mash-up of appropriated images from the artist’s own childhood books, as well as from Russian Constructivism, European Surrealism, Soviet experimental animation, and found ephemera collected from local flea markets and antique stores. Themes of migration, loss, collapse, and transformation appear throughout the exhibition in the form of fallen statues, running men, heads, flags, and books. History in Orlovski work is always haunting the present.
An installation of 50 small works on paper presents a range of recurring images, and a collage approach that the artist has been incorporating in his practice for over 25 years. A number of these drawings have been developed into a series of new oil paintings on linen. “Books” depicts two volumes, one with a biomorphic, cover and another with a geometric pattern. The patterns are based on Russian army camouflage and Soviet graphic design motifs. Pattern and abstraction become simultaneously sinister and playful. A Picasso-like head makes an appearance in a number of paintings, as a sculpture hiding behind a thicket of plants, and as a double portrait contained in an open book.
Orlovski continues his exploration of the moving image through three new found-object projections, and a mobile. “Monument” layers an animated loop of crumbling figures projected onto the surface of an antique iron. “Flag”, a found fiberglass American flag is painted white and activated by a projected animation of billowing fabric. Both a symbol of patriotism and surrender, the flag is at once in motion and frozen in time.
Composed of a series of suspended painted bronze shapes, “Running Man” revisits this now familiar image in Orlovski’s work, but this time in the form of a mobile. An everyman character appropriated from one of the artist’s Soviet children’s books is reimagined as a marionette caught in mid-stride. Movement here is no longer representational, but literal.
Stas Orlovski has lived and worked in Los Angeles since earning his MFA from the University of Southern California in 1996. His work is featured in prominent private and public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Crocker Museum, Sacramento, the Phoenix Art Museum and the Palm Springs Art Museum. Orlovski has been recognized with prestigious awards such as the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting and Sculpture Award, the City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Grant (COLA), an Artistic Innovation Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation and a J. Paul Getty Trust Fellowship from the California Community Foundation. Residencies include the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, George Rickey Fellowship from Yaddo Corporation of the Arts, Art Omi Residency Program. In 2019 the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art presented “Chimera”, a multi-media installation previously shown at the 56th Venice Biennale as part of the exhibition We Must Risk Delight. That same year, Orlovski’s site-specific, projected animation ”Running Man“ was installed inside a former ADN Guardhouse at the Wende Museum in Culver City.