Vasily Fedorouk Tribute ~ Sculptor Ukraine and USA
Sculptor Vasily Fedorouk at a stone carving symposium
Borsheim Art News
copyright 8 September 2009CONTENTS:
- Art Exhibit - Austin Texas
- New Marble Sculpture - The Offering
- Vasily Fedorouk (1950-2009)
- Blog Features Photography Too
- Subscription Info.
Dear Art Lover,
In a group exhibit that just started in Austin, Texas, there are 67 artists together working in a variety of materials, subject matter, and most certainly style.
ONE GIANT STEP FOR MANKIND . . .
Can you imagine my surprise when I was told by the director of the Austin Visual Arts Association (AVAA) that all three of my submitted works received high scores from the judges. In addition, all three judges gave my painting "Relinquish" a perfect score!
And yet, it had been feared that the work would be banned from the gallery! This painting depicts a nude male figure on his knees and accepting the light.
Relinquish by Kelly Borsheim
oil on canvas, 50 x 70 cm
elegant, coffee-colored Ansley frame from Larson-Juhl
(outer frame dimension=24.75 x 32.7 inches)
[Back in 2002, this same city-run gallery told me after I hung my pre-approved exhibit "From Paper to Bronze: Sculptors Who Draw" with sculptor Marian Waldrip, that: "While it is against the law for us to censure artwork, we would like for you to consider that this, that, and that one over there (pointing specifically to two different paintings and one half-life size bronze) might be offensive to children and should perhaps be removed from your exhibition." I removed one painting (only) that was at the edge of the exhibit. No one ever complained... in fact, the opposite! And still years later, THIS nude "Relinquish" could be a problem? It also was not, and I was glad that no one removed the work from the exhibition.]
I hope you will get a chance to see this exhibit. I will be at the reception on 9 September, as well as giving an art talk on September 20th.
"The 32nd Anniversary Exhibit & Reunion" (group exhibit)
Austin Visual Arts Association (AVAA)
Julia C. Butridge Gallery in the Dougherty Arts Center
1110 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704 USA
Web site: http://www.avaaonline.org
4 - 28 September 2009
Reception: 9 Sept. Wednesday (AFTER Labor Day), 6 - 8 p.m.
Artist Talk: 20 September, starts at noon
September 11, 2001, changed the world. I have been working off and on since 2002 on a marble carving whose inspiration came from this event. I am excited about introducing her to you now.
one of a kind
26" h x 9" x 7"
© 2002-9 Kelly Borsheim
The Short Version: This sculpture is about the strength in vulnerability.
Vasily Fedorouk - Tribute to a Great Sculptor
St. Michael granite sculpture
On Sunday August 23, my dear friend and mentor Vasily V. Fedorouk
drowned in a public park near his home after he saved his beloved dog Era from some treacherous weeds in a small lake just outside of Chicago. He had just turned 59.
The day that I met Vasily at the MARBLE/marble Symposium in Marble, Colorado, in the summer of 2001, I knew that my life would change for the better. Before I met Vasily, I had only seen abstracted forms in granite: most contemporary sculptors marketing that stone as too hard to really carve. (I have since discovered that many artists throughout history have carved detail into granite.) I had never seen such beautiful figures carved in granite, basalt, dolomite, and other stones until Vasily showed me his portfolio that first night in the mountains. He opened a new world to me and continued to do so over the years.
I used to tease him that he was a god. I suspected that he was pleased, but he would mutter, "I am not a god. I am a man." I laughed and exclaimed, "Yes, even better! By the mere definition of a god, one expects great things. When a man does a great thing, it is worthy of awe."
"Recording Angel" (detail)
by Vasily Fedorouk
This was the sculpture that told me that Vasily was the one. I connected with it right away. And I knew I wanted him to teach me how to carve. She is holding a scroll containing the names of the deceased.
Vasily won the top award when the monument company Quiring, who hired him to carve this work, entered this granite sculpture into a professional competition.
His School Days and Early Art Career in Ukraine:
Vasily sculpts Lenin's portrait in clay in 1987 in his studio in the Ukraine.
Vasily's studio in the Ukraine.
Born in 1950 August 16 in the province of Kobaky of Ivano-Frankovsk, Vasily Fedorouk
spent his childhood surrounded by the beauty of the Carpathian Mountains
. In 1966 he entered the Kosov Art College
and later specialized in sculpture at the prestigious Lviv Academy of Art
from 1972 through 1977. He worked as a sculptor ever since. He was a member of the Union of Artists of Ukraine
since 1982. Vasily's works have been exhibited internationally and are in private collections in the USA, Ukraine, Russia, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Brazil, Norway, Korea, Israel, and Turkey. Several of his sculptures are in the permanent collections of museums in Ukraine and Russia.
Vasily's family was important to him. They also served as muses for his art, as seen in this drawing of his wife and the ceramic sculpture of his son. In 2006 I took the middle photo of artist Vasily (right) with his wife Dilbara and his son Anton while visiting their home outside of Chicago.
Vasily brought his second wife Dilbara and young son Anton to the United States after he was an invited guest to the Seattle 1990 Goodwill Games
. He created and donated to the city of Seattle a sculpture of a torso in black marble, which is on permanent display at the Westlake Mall. Vasily has been invited to many stone carving symposia around the world, including one in Brazil in 2002 in which he carved a 10-foot marble sculpture of two figures - in three weeks!
The artist was gregarious and generous. He cooked well and ate healthy foods. We always drank a lot of vodka or cognac (although he did not start drinking until the age of 28, when he stopped the sport of wrestling). He enjoyed jokes, flirting, listening to music, and spending time with friends. But he was also a workaholic and very serious in matters of art and business.
He was always learning new things. He told me, "The artist is the best kind of scientist because we study everything." But he was also impatient at times and this made him appear gruff. Like his teachers in the Ukraine, Vasily believed that students learn by watching and then working on their own. He felt that in America, students want to be complimented too much on each small accomplishment.
In the first of two stone carving workshops that Vasily taught in Kelly Borsheim's studio in Cedar Creek, Texas, the Ukrainian-born master sculptor showed students (such as Dale Gibson, above) how to properly use tools of the trade. Below, Pat Moore with Vasily.
Of course, like it is with most strong personalities, it was difficult to feel lukewarm about him. And not everyone saw his magic and charm. For example, one day two students were finishing up lunch with Vasily and me during the stone carving workshop that Vasily and I were teaching in my Texas studio. The women were speaking about various relationships, and I began to respond with a story of someone I knew in a similar situation. I was interrupted by a tremendous noise as Vasily slammed his palm onto the table, pointed a finger right at me, looked me directly in the eye, and said curtly, "You ! . . . need to stop talking!"
I did. I understood. But, needless to say, the students decided that lunch was indeed over and quickly retreated outside to their stone carving stations to recommence their work. Later that night, I joined Vasily alone out of my deck as he smoked a cigarette. He immediately apologized for his lunchtime behaviour. But I simply told him that my grandmother always compliments me on everything I do. While there is a place for that, she will never make me a better artist (sorry, Gram!). Vasily will and has. I work better with honest and direct people. His delivery was abrupt, but I understood his meaning and good intent.
But what our students did not know was that Vasily and I had had previous conversations about me and his comment was a continuation of one of those. Some time before that day, Vasily told me, "You will never be a great artist because you have too many things in your head." At the time, he was criticizing me because I spent too much time making sure that other people had what they needed. I was having difficulty focusing on my own work. I simply protested that I was the host of a workshop and it was because I took care of many things that he was free to carve and teach. Still, he had a point.
I am not a productive artist. Vasily absolutely is. Or was. The difference has a lot to do with focus. It is easy to see, though, how others could see him as selfish or maybe even demanding. He almost always preferred to be working on his own projects. I know that lots of artists were intimidated by Vasily. I heard that word often when people spoke to me about him. But I saw him as a generous and honest person and an incredible teacher, for those who wanted it.
That night as we stood and he smoked, he looked inside the windows of my studio to a wall in which hung paintings in various stages of completion from over the years. I watched him quietly as he formed his thoughts into what he wanted to tell me. He finally said, "Kelly, you are not growing anymore. You are doing the same kind of paintings that you were doing when I met you, only . . . only . . . you have lost your understanding of construction." He finished his cigarette and we went inside. He asked for a large drawing book and we sat down together on my little vintage sofa. More lessons about light and form began. This night was a large part of the reason that I ended up going back to Europe sooner than later.
I spoke with Vasily a week before he died. It was his 59th birthday. We usually kept in touch through e-mail or phone. Skype was handy when one or the both of us were outside of the US. He loved all of the new technologies and the use of video on Skype. And he was still teaching me as we spoke about different types of visas for a stone symposium in Russia and other countries. Information I found useful, but did not even know I needed!
Above is the mark that Vasily put on his art. I advised him to put it somewhere on his Web site so that collectors could associate the mark with him. I was happy to discover that he took my advice. He told me that when he first got started in art, there was another artist with the same initials as his. So he created this mark. For him, there were a couple of meanings, one a wee bit naughty ;-) Perhaps you see the masculine shape now, too.
Selected Works of Art by Vasily Fedorouk:
Above: "The Dream" marble, Hilligoss Gallery in Chicago broke Vasily's beautiful sculpture and never told him. He found out because my sister Amber moved to Chicago and I asked her to go see his works there and she saw the broken sculpture in one of the back display rooms! I called him right away. But when he contacted the gallery: No apology, no payment, nothing . . . incredibie!
Above: "The Wall" a figurative sculpture in marble sculpted in 2002 when the artist still lived in Seattle. I really love this sculpture!
Above: "Sundial" is a maquette for a monument Vasily wanted to carve. I was flattered when he asked me if I would write up his application statement about his ideas. He said he likes the way that I write. I was touched to be able to help my maestro and surprised that he had even read anything that I had written. Sadly, this has never been carved large, as he had hoped to do.
Below: Right: a self-portrait in stone by Ukrainian-American artist Vasily Fedorouk
This is the marble fountain of a belly dancer that Vasily started at the MARBLE/marble Symposium in Marble, Colorado, in which I met him in the summer of 2001. He only stayed 4 days to rough out the block and lighten the weight by drilling a hole in the base for space for the water pump. I was in complete awe of how quickly he got the gesture and the beauty of the composition so early on. What lessons I learned in such a short time! He finished the belly dancer fountain in his home in Seattle in 2002.
Above: a self-portrait in stone by Vasily Fedorouk, Architectonics 2002
In 2002, Vasily created a sculpture in 3 pieces of dolomite as a commission for Architectonics in Seattle, Washington.
Above: Vasily's finished dolomite figurative sculpture he titled "Anatomy of Life." Created for Architectonics in Seattle. 2002
Below: Vasily with his 10-foot marble sculpture created later in 2002 in a symposium in Brazil. Vasily told me once that when he was in school, his nickname was "Ant" because for such a small guy, he carried far more than his own weight.
Vasily sits (center front) with other stone carvers at a symposium in Spain in 2008. His sculpture done there is on the right.
Below: Vasily sculpted a 2-figure commission of Adam and Eve for a collector in Turkey, an enlargement of an earlier composition. 2007
Vasily with his symposium marble sculpture in Turkey, 2007:
MARBLE/marble 2004, Marble, Colorado: Vasily and I stayed another day after the symposium (despite the oddly cool temperatures) and I got to watch him start this lovely marble carving of two doves. He was always teaching me something.
March 2005 Cedar Creek, Texas: Soon after Vasily arrived in Texas, he began to carve the name of Kelly's late companion, Zac, into his marble headstone that John Borsheim provided. It was a total surprise to Kelly, who had driven to Austin for stone workshop supplies. Below that: Vasily holds a cardinal after she stunned herself flying into one of the windows of the Borsheim residence.
Above: Vasily found a cardinal who had flown into one of my windows. He protected her while she got her wits about her and then flew off.
Below: Vasily, Kelly, and several of the participants at their stone carving workshop dine in Austin, Texas, at the Green Mesquite BBQ. 29 March 2005
Below: During his first visit to Texas, Vasily gave a lecture about his work at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. After his lecture, Executive Director/Curator Nelie Plourde gave Vasily a tour of their sculpture by Charles Umlauf. 29 March 2005.
Above: Kelly and Vasily clowning around in his home outside of Chicago, 4 July 2005
Below: John, Kelly, Amber, Mike, and Vasily pose under a table in Vasily's basement home gallery (timer on Kelly's camera). 4 July 2005
These are two of my favorite oil paintings by Vasily, created about a year before I met him: "Greek Dance" and "Umbrella"
Vasily created romantic art . . .Circle of Love
[2019: I am thrilled that this piece is one of three of Vasily's in my own personal art collection!]
and his erotic works were filled with humanity and humor. [I have this first one, too, what a fun personal search I had with this in Chicago! This was the first piece I bought by Vasily.]
Above: Vasily loved dogs and he carried this photo with him of his long ago companion in Ukraine.
Below: I took this image of Vasily with his last dog, Era, in his home studio, September 11, 2008. Vasily drowned in the weeds in a lake not far from his home, after saving Era from the same fate. [Era died in 2017.]
Vasily with dog Era in Westmont, Illinois
I never wanted his death to be the impetus for why I wrote this tribute today. I cannot believe he is gone, but I feel incredibly grateful to have known him. Au revoir
, Vasily! And thank you so much.
Thank you for reading and by all means, forward this newsletter on to anyone you think would enjoy it.
8 September 2009
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