Today we’d like to introduce you to Vita Eruhimovitz.
Vita, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My story is somewhat nomadic. I was born in Ukraine at the end of the Soviet era. Since early childhood, I’ve been drawing and painting and early on I knew I will be an artist. My family immigrated to Israel when I was nine. There was the usual immigration story, financial struggle, striving for economic stability and cultural integration. My art dream was pushed aside in favor of a more “stable” occupation. After graduating from high school, I took a ten years detour into science and technology. I was on my way to a bioinformatics PhD when the realization hit me that this is a now or never moment. I left to Australia (mostly because this was as far from my “normal life” as I could get) and spent a year making art in my living room and working in tech to support myself.
Eventually, I returned to Israel and pursued a BFA at Shenkar College. My wanderlust and the need to expand my horizons were still strong and soon after, I came to the USA for my MFA at Washington University in Saint Louis. After graduation, I moved to NYC for a couple of years, taught in a few different colleges and worked at my studio. A year ago, my partner and I put all our belongings in storage and embarked on a 15 week-long road trip around the USA. This trip was planned as a traveling art- project. Part of the time was traveling, hiking, exploring, and part of the time was spent at art residencies in Oregon and New Mexico. The further west we traveled the more we felt that west US is the place for us to be. Our road trip ended in LA and with some good luck and quick decisions, we were able to stay. Currently we live in LA, I work at my studio, and teach at CSLA.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been a smooth road of course, however I prefer to see most of my hardship as self-chosen. I could point to poor childhood, immigration, my family’s initial reluctance to accept my art career, and the sense of being the other everywhere. However, these are pretty trivial struggles and they don’t define me. Sometimes I think that it’s unfortunate that I began my art career much later than most of my peers, but even that has a benefit of outside-of art experience that enriches my creative process.
Please tell us more about your art.
I am a visual artist, in the past years I’ve been working primarily in painting. My paintings are often large-scale, they combine expressionist abstract methods with a construction of a three-dimensional world. My process is very influenced by a three-dimensional thinking that I bring from my past work in sculpture and installation. When I look at a painting in progress, I always see it in terms of three-dimensional space. I work primarily with acrylic and oil paints, often using both in the same painting. Combining the two activates a lot of different modes of moving and thinking and I enjoy the variety.
My work explores narratives of natural history and creation myths, biological life and the future of life on earth. It is grounded in the current moment in its sense of ecological anxiety and informed by my background in life sciences and technology. Universal properties of biological life such as growth, violence, sexuality, death, and decay come into play as the dynamic forces in my work, while the contemporary notions of artificial life and intelligence, techno-nature, and post-human life contribute to its overarching narrative. In the past few years, my paintings have been strongly related to place: they begin from an exploration of specific places while at the same time, due to my personal nomadic biography, the non-human place becomes the ultimate everywhere-home.
My work has been shown nationally and internationally including Mildred Lane Kemper Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum in Saint Louis, Museum of Design Holon in Israel, Brattleboro Museum in Vermont, and at the San Diego Art Institute Museum. My work has also been shown with Walter Wickiser gallery, Denise Bibro gallery, the Chashama Art Space, Black and White gallery, The Governors Island Art Fair in NYC, The Sheldon Gallery in Saint Louis, MO, and more. Last year I became the most recent alum of the decade to receive the Award of Distinction of the Sam Fox School of Visual Art and Design.
Recently I have been co-curating an online exhibition Sense of Place that is currently available for viewing on the LOUPE streaming platform here: https://www.loupeart.com/stream/channels/sense-of-place?present=true.
What were you like growing up?
Hmm.. shy, introverted, creative, stubborn, had a really strong dislike of authority. For a long time, my family moved almost every year so I didn’t have many lasting friendships. I drew and painted a lot, read a lot of books – which made me think I’m smarter than everyone. I’ve been to 7 or 8 different schools before I went to high school (a kind of competitively selected “smart kids” boarding school) and it’s only there, with a bunch of other “nerds and weirdos” I felt more-or-less in the right place.
- Website: www.vitaeruhimovitz.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @vita_eruhimovitz
Benjamin George Filinson