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Larissa Podgoretz

b. 1948, Lvov, Ukraine

About The Artist

Larissa Podgoretz creates enameled jewelry that is remarkable for its imagery, complexity and sheer technical virtuosity. The images themselves are dream-like, tenebrous visions, viewed as through a keyhole, fragments of a larger world that remains just out of view. The fragments that we do see are mysterious and haunting. Larissa says of these images: “My subject matter of the female form, plants and elements of landscape are an unconscious choice. They are simply the forms that I find myself going back to and feeling 'right' with.”

Each of these “paintings to wear” is conceived as a composition in both gold and enamel paint, in which the gold frame becomes an integral part of the composition. For example, lines drawn in the enamel often extend beyond the painting in gold strands, which wrap over and around the enamel. In another example, gold flowers are actually applied above the enamel image, creating a three-dimensional surface and completing the portrait of a girl with flowers in her hair.

The enamel process itself is a complex and demanding one that begins with a slightly domed copper surface: this is the artist’s canvas. The design is first outlined on the copper, then underglaze is applied to prepare the surface. Next, the many layers and sections of each enamel are executed: opalescent enamel in some sections, opaque in others, precious foils and transparent enamels in still other areas. The image itself is overpainted onto the background, using enamel colors. Each color and section is built up carefully, with an average of thirty to thirty-five firings in the kiln at temperatures from 800 F to 1600 F. The finished enamel is then set into gold, which has been handforged by Larissa according to her original composition. These are truly artworks to be worn and cherished.

Larissa Podgoretz was born in the Soviet Union, received a BA in Russian Literature from Queens College (New York) and an MFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design (Jerusalem). She has exhibited her work in museums and galleries, including the Museum Vleeshuis in Belgium, Electrum Gallery in London and the Jewelry Museum in Pforzheim, West Germany.

Artist’s Statement

Unique Jewelry, Limoges Miniature Painted Enamels

As a student I found a strong sense of context for the history, art and literature I studied in my own personal history. My roots are in Europe and the Middle East. Byzantine, Hellenistic and Egyptian artifacts are a part of my daily life. The European Renaissance, 18th Century enamels and jeweled objects, the Art Nouveau as well as Japanese Art made a deep impression on me. I responded very strongly to the “abandon” in these works. Their creators used materials for their colors, qualities of light, texture - striving for the surprise, the impossible - these materials became their language. These strongly influenced my own “personal voice” in jewelry.

It is hard to define what inspires me; it is a most submerged and fragile process. Perhaps it is the images that make my breath catch when I see them, the sensualist in me responding to the, nearly, heart breaking beauty I see, the wonder of patterns, interrelationships, contrasts, fragility. A face or gesture that has the purity of line and color of the most poignant portraits in history. When I see these, it’s like experiencing an instant in another time, when some other artist lived with the same pang of discovery. In this era that has became so technocratic, supersaturated and desensitizing that I feel the need to keep these sensibilities is perhaps stronger than ever.

I use the classic themes of the nude, plants, birds and landscape as vehicles to explore forms, line and texture - always expanding further the possibilities of the enameling medium with its endless range of colors and the ability to play with light. I love the ritual aspects of the elemental processes of working with metal, glass, gems – making a precious object - capturing in that miniature fragment a timeless, magic quality.

Email: gallery@delmano.com

Phone: 626-421-6359 or 800-335-6266

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