Date and place of birth: 08.08.1975, Ostrogh, Ryvne region, Ukraine. I live and work in Uzhgorod.
Education: artist, ceramist, College of Arts in Uzhgorod named after Erdely graduated with honors diploma.
- 1997 – family exhibition “The spring gem”,
- 2002- personal exhibition in Uzhgorod, exhibition Hall Of Artist Union.
- 2007 – personal exhibition in Uzhgorod, exhibition Hall Of Artist Union.
- 2009 – personal exhibition Gallery “Berva” in Kyiv, Andriyivskyy Descent
TV – programmes:
- 1998 –”The Gherchuk’s world of passions ” by Vira Kobulei;
- 2002 – “Miracle on glass” by Rostislava Dzhamurat;
- 2003 – “Town’s scetches” by Larisa Basova;
- 2007 – ” Art of life” by Vira Kobulei
At the beginning an idea appears, and then material is chosen, after – execution technique.
Painting on glass is divided into some series:
decorative still lives and landscapes;
“Temperature painting” – each colour represents temperature in accordance with scale on picture’s side;
“Fluent translation”- verses, where each word is reproduced by an individual image;
“Traveling in time” – pictures with two-four glass-levels, where periods of time moves away accordingly to perspective: autumn- winter-spring …, evening-night-morning…
The pictures were painted with oil on glass on the opposite side from a spectator. Sometimes I use appliqués made from glass, metal, gilding. I use two-three levels of glass. It makes possible to create an additional effect of perspective and volume.
I am interested in ceramics from my childhood, “from puddles near my house”. It’s a good realization of the sense of humor. On the whole there are penny whistles, majolica, handmade modeling; decoration: engobe, glaze, glossing, scratch, stamping, sticking etc.
I liked to use bottles for interior decoration, and then some ideas appeared. At the present time I paint it inside with oil. For this purpose I use flexible brushes for different bottle forms and deepness of picture location.
Second life of a glass bottle
About a year before somebody on the meeting in the edition center told that he had seen on TV channel “1+1” telecast about artist from Uzhgorod who paints unbelievable paintings on the glass bottles and more over – on the inside plate of the bottle. We listened to, discussed, and were really surprised. And it was so desirable to know more about such a miracle and to write about this marveling.
But it happened that because of too much work with edition problems or just because of absence of information about the name and address of the artist (we knew only the fact that she is from Uzhgorod), our plans were only plans. But then someone during the discussion of the problem of glass bottles utilization remembered about their collection and about that information from TV.
We decided to find that artist. On the 8 of April this year out search finished with telephone conversation with Nataliya Gherchuk (it was she – the artist). Having received from her web-site address and “walked” on its pages we were even more charmed by fantastic works of Natalka and her relishes. We proposed collaboration, agreed upon form and terms. And only the next day, while looking the web-site we noticed that our acquaintance and telephone conversation with Nataliya Gherchuk happened at her anniversary birthday. It happens! We decided immediately that this material would be the present from our editors on her birthday, for the New Year and Christmas holidays.
About her wishes for future Natalka Gherchuk on her page in the internet writes the following: “They say that an artist does not have any enemies except of his bad paintings. I wish to have future without enemies, to enjoy life, to visit Crimea, to learn dancing tango, to study English and computer graphics software perfectly, to listen more frequently “trans” (I know that my friends will smile reading this word”. These thoughts prompted, that Natalka herself will tell better about herself and her creative work, and we with our questions will only turn our conversation in the direction of discovery of the world where an artist is living and creating.
Packing: Natalka, how did you join the artist commune?
Natalka Gherchuk: I started to paint and chisel from the early childhood. My father is a amateur artist, so paintings were and are the integrated part of the environment. When I have been a little girl, I made crockery for my dolls from the clay near my house, together with other children we made fire and thrown the wet plates into the fire. That time I had a problem with technology of ceramics, but there was not a problem to choose the profession: I studied in studios and in College of Arts in Uzhgorod named after Erdely on the department of artistic ceramics, and I was in favour of painting. On one of the classes we have been acquainted with new for me technique of painting on the glass. It seemed to me, that this is endless area for experiments, technical discoveries in painting, and because of possibilities to use many glass layers this is on the border with sculpture. It gives a chance to reflect the idea, impression more precisely or to create totally new probable world.
By the way, I think that any creation starts after surprising. An artist is charmed, delighted, filled by impressions and he wants to keep them and share with whole world, frequently under his anger. In my work firstly an idea appears, then I search for it available way of the most expressive implementation: paining on the glass, water colours, ceramics or bottle decoration.
Packing: Where the painting on the glass has been started? What this painting gives additionally to an artist?
Natalka Gherchuk: Painting on the glass is a very old technique; it is widely spread in Europe, in particular in Germany. The oldest works that I have seen are paintings on religious themes.
The character peculiarity of the technique is that the paint is appliquéd from the opposite to the observer side, and an artist, starting the work, has to see clearly in his mind not only the finished painting, but also its mirror reflection. Because of this complicacy this technique is not so widely spread as ordinary painting on paper.
The painting is done with oil paints, last time acryl paints are used more frequently, also they add touché, gouache, water colours, gilding. I personally paint with oil paints, fore decoration or more impression I use touches of different colours, different types of gilding, appliqués; when I want to show additional facture or ice, I add torn pieces of glass (“Traveling in time. Way towards summer”, “Covered up with snow”). In such paintings as “Reminiscence about journey”, “Autumn rain”, every glass torn is painted and has special meaning, idea.
The possibilities of glass are hard to overestimate. First of all, many layers of glass give additional perspective and possibility to make almost relief volume and installations under glass. Secondly, only glass enables through transparency involvement of objects, facture of wall, space beyond the painting or the bottle or its possible absence (“Edge of the world”, “Free translation. Parting”). One of my last works “Long way” is almost transparent and two-sided: images of two trees from opposite points of view. A bottle except of usage of transparent and half-transparent surfaces also enables endless rapport imaging: “Plum garden”, “Tree of life”, “Continuity of parks”.
Packing: Natalka, how appeared the idea to paint on the inside bottle wall?
Natalka Gherchuk: Transcarpattya is a region with old winemaking traditions, and before the Soviet Union appearance there rich vine-makers ordered own design of bottles, labels, they decorated pyvnyca (ground floors where vine is kept), kitchens, guestrooms; also in korchmas (bars) and restaurants there was for sure a shelf with vine samples, sometimes with vine bottles, poghars (glasses for vine and vodka products).
Later on there was a shop on the central street of Uzhgorod – vine-testing hall, on its shelves were presented different sorts of Transcarpathian vines. During Soviet time there was a fashion to have home bars with souvenir sets of alcoholic drinks, and fans of olden times, in particular most of artists, decorated interior with olden bottles and other subjects of a life. I personally liked also a modern bottle, that’s why my friends and relatives assisted me in their collection.
I have been painting on glass already, when my ex husband brought to my collection an olden bottle from home-made vodka and told me: «May be, you can do something with it”. At first I thought just to fill it with paint, as it is sometimes done in ceramics, but then I decided to fix a brush to the flexible wire and painted my first bottle “At the bottom”. It was about “against alcohol” thematic: how people make everything sunk. On the bottom under the layer of syvukha (home-made alcohol) were seen money, car, five, keys from happiness…First bottle has been presented on the personal exhibition of Ghrchuk family in 1997.
Packing: Tell more about instrument, paints, technique of painting on the bottles.
Natalka Gherchuk: To wipe the painting inside the bottle is very complicated, sometimes impossible, that’s why I try to paint in a few stages, layer after layer. By the way, in the bottle decoration as well as in the painting on the glass, the main role has a first layer, because it is first for the viewer, and then come phone layers, unlike the ordinary painting.
Materials for painting: some flexible brushes, sponge on the wire for application of additional facture, sponge for correction of gross mistakes, oil paints, gilding.
In most cases, when an idea appears, I look for necessary bottle, form itself underlines the context. In cylinder bottles it’s better to paint rapport compositions, in square ones – city landscapes, in asymmetric ones – abstract compositions.
Packing: Natalka, how really appears the theme of painting on the bottle? Is it connected with the story of the bottle itself?
Natalka Gherchuk: Sometimes the theme of the bottle is not connected with the story of its appearance, but inmost cases I remember, where were taken almost all my exponents.
For a long time at home one type of bottles had been used for juice preservation for winter period, near my grandma house plumps were gardened, the form of the bottle neck looked like a plump is stuck in it – “Plump garden”. Joyful winter evening with friends – “Snowfall”.
My colleague presented me a vine bottle of very famine form – “Strange garden”, another colleague – of man form – “Merry travel”. The bottle “Well regulated life” appeared after one more try to make order in my own life and to put everything on the right shelves. Reconciliation with a very close person – “Between you and me”. A wish to make present for relatives – “Still life”, “Morning coffee”. “Eastern motives” remind the girl party and bottle of liquor. Round bottle “Sunny day” reminds me familiar artist who presented it to me in a few days before his disappearance.
The bottle for work “Continuity of parks” I have taken from my brother and returned it for his 30-years anniversary. “Greetings” appeared after presented to me by boss vine bottle for my birthday. What is characteristic that I almost do not drink and frequently laugh – that is for my hands not to tremble and not to harm my creativity.
Packing: How are you holding on in this world? With what you singe your wishes?
Natalka Gherchuk: My optimism is backed by my own responsibility for my life. And although it sounds very nice: I am hold by respect and love for myself and associates. And respective mood ensures my sense of security in any situations that’s why there are people around me, with whom I can have only positive energy exchange. I consider that the destiny of a person is in its hands, if it’s hard to solve any question, you can read some psychological books or religious literature and change your attitude to the problem, at last take your attention away towards pleasant things.
I am not for “rose glasses”, but there is a Golden pedagogic law: “To enable somebody become well”. That’s why I sometimes surprised by people who consider themselves to be well-bred, they do not foul just on the streets, but they easily infect people around with their destructive ideas, disrespect for themselves and others, state horrible reality without indicating the way to improve situation. Every minute we make a choice between positive and destructive ideas. As an outstanding person said: “Thought is generating action, action – habit, habit – destiny”.
This is every second choice – whether to think about despair, fault, pain, hatred or about joy, creativeness, love and light.
Sometimes I think that in modern art it’s not enough elementary health, and the time test is handed over only by those works that are in one or other way sing ode to life.
Packing: Natalka, and what is packing for you personally – a glass bottle, a cardboard box or a polymer package?
Natalka Gherchuk: I really wish that a packing should be different and interesting, especially a glass one. A human being had from ancient times has inclination to right forms, smooth surfaces, and expressive colours. May be it has been connected with a fact that mature healthy people have right forms, bright colour, pleasant taste. I think that reactions of our contemporaries have not changed while choosing the food products, clothes, printing products, techniques and their design Vytruviy once identified the basis of architecture: usefulness, solidity and beauty. I think that this is true for a lot of spheres of human activities, and in packing if to divide or neglect with one of those three characteristics it means to destroy the harmony and basis of the good.
Of course, I agree with point of view of majority of people, that excess of rubbish places also because of used packing – it’s our economical and culture level, we can say – state of soul of our citizens and officials. Throughout the world modern technologies of переробки are elaborated long before. Definitely, that rubbish should be processed, not eradicated. And it’s a great pleasure for me that I can do something for this.
Packing: What’s next? What soul demands are not yet satisfied?
Natalka Gherchuk: I hope that I will paint more.
Once after preliminary exhibition there was a period of relax, nowadays again wishes, ideas are nourished, and collection of empty bottles is enlarging. I want to be more surprised, to travel, to communicate with the world. The communication with nature and people is a push for my creativeness. Sometimes I say that I was born barefooted, naked and couldn’t speak, and now I can only thank for support, study and possibility of self-expression, in particular to the magazine “Packing”.
And we hope to collaborate and meeting with Natalka Gherchuk in the editor hall when she comes to Kiyv as soon as possible.
(Valeriy Kryvoshej has written it down from editorial office)