Skip to main content

Natalya Kochak











Natalya Kochak creates paintings and mixed media work with humanitarian influences of social justice. Born in New York, she has spent time in Chicago, and completing artist in residency programs in Berlin and Beijing, in addition to teaching art in Uganda for two months. She earned her BFA and MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently resides in Miami, where she is a professor at Miami International University in the visual arts department.

The sculptural books pictured here are from her series My Family Anti-Autobiography which explores constructs of whiteness. She explains her work:

This project began organically: two families, both with an interest in genealogy and history, started to look for something, not knowing exactly what. My mother, Jacqueline Kochak, is a journalist with a love and obsession for knowledge and truth who, through the exploration of history, set out on a search for her family history. Along the way, she met Paula Whatley Matabane, who lived only one hour away and was on the same search. They were two Southern women who found each other. Their connection was a shared ancestor who was a slave master. My family’s ancestor was the slave master, and Paula’s was the enslaved female. This knowledge was extraordinarily hard for my mother to accept at first. She always thought she was from a poor farming family. Paula, on the other hand, knew of her family history and wanted to open a dialogue....

My interest deepened as I learned of the similarities between the four women involved, Paula and my mother, Paula’s daughter and me. My mother and Paula are only a couple of years apart in age, one a journalist and the other a documentary filmmaker and professor. My interest further deepened as I found out that Mashadi, Paula’s daughter, was a writer and academic, and I am a contemporary artist. We are two sides of one coin, exemplars of a narrative that has been buried by controversy, and a shame in American history that has yet to be fully acknowledged. The brutality of that time and the unacknowledged history are at the forefront of our continued conversation.

I proposed that the two families begin to get to know each other through starting a conversation, in the process becoming a family that has never been acknowledged. I proposed using our photo archives to make reimagined family portraits in the form of collages and montages. From the collages I create large-scale paintings to synthesize these moments and write them into present history. Paula and her daughter respond to everything I create. We have a continued Skype conversation. I am collecting data, a new archive, and in doing this we rotate agency. We are history making—chatting and acknowledging, collaborating and negotiating. Through a newfound unity, we are transcending a patriarchal society; shame is revised into a new beginning.

Find Natalya online at www.natalyakochak.com and on Instagram @natalyakochak



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jo Illustrates!

Work featuring great color, architecture, an eye for design, and fun shops?! Yes please! If this intrigues you as much as us, check out Jo Illustrates! Jo Illustrates! is a project by a Sydney based artist who dabbles in illustration; she draws inspiration from a past life of studying graphic design and architecture, working in a graphic style that is detail orientated. Jo was kind enough to give us some insight into how she approaches her work: I use a combination of copic markers, paint pens and felt tip markers in my work and find the materials I use inform the type of art I create. Almost as if they are in charge and it's my job to figure out how to form an image from their application. I find approaching my art in this way is not only expressive, but methodical and puzzle like.  I am inspired by architecture, music, travel, design, pattern and colour. You can see more of her work on Instagram   @_jo_illustrates or on Etsy  http://w

Nancy Gruskin

  Modern still life and figural paintings capturing the beauty in daily experiences, Nancy Gruskin's work creates a narrative with beautiful brushwork and use of color. We love the gestural quality and implied forms  of her work, adding a fresh perspective to classic still lives.  Nancy Gruskin is a figurative and still life painter from Concord, Massachusetts.   She received a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art from Connecticut College and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Art History from Boston University.   After teaching architectural history for several years, she now devotes herself to painting full-time.   Her paintings emerge from everyday experiences and familiar views and are based on direct observation, photographs, invention and memory.   Gruskin has shown her work across the United States and has an upcoming exhibition in Australia.   She teaches painting at the Concord Center for the Visual Arts.    More of her work can be viewed at www.nancygruskin.com

Interview With Caro Buermann, Artist Manager and Curator

California based Caro Buermann is artist manager to Hikari Shimoda and curator at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, where she is involved with the gallery's program of artists. She generously answered a lot of our readers questions, ranging from day to day life as a curator to inquiring about submissions. We hope you enjoy learning more about her background and advice for artists as much as we did! Many thanks to Caro for her time and insights! Caro (left) with artist and designer ONCH (right) Pretty Girls Making Cool Shit: Thanks for much for your time and willingness to be interviewed! Would you like to introduce yourself? Caro Buermann: Thank you for the opportunity. My name is Caro and I am a Los Angeles based art curator. I’m also the manager of Japanese New Contemporary portrait painter Hikari Shimoda. As a curator of Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, a big part of my job is to help define the gallery’s growing program of artists. I’m coming up on my fifth year wit