SERGEI ISUPOV: Call of the Wild

Sergei Isupov | Call of the Wild
May 4 – July 30, 2013
Barry Friedman Ltd, New York

Barry Friedman Ltd, in collaboration with Ferrin Gallery, is pleased to present a solo exhibition of figurative sculpture by contemporary Russian artist, Sergei Isupov. This will be the artist’s second show with Barry Friedman Ltd, and will open with a public reception on Saturday, May 4 from 2-6pm.

Call of the Wild, a body of 14 new works in porcelain and ceramic, produced at Project Art, Cummington, Massachusetts, creates a conversation about conflict and resolution driven by the instinctual drives of man, woman, animal, and beast.

Symbolic and metaphoric imagery gleaned from classical art training in the former Soviet Union, introduces allegorical biblical content and iconic presentations of portrait and landscape. The artist’s choice of ceramic materials provides the opportunity to create interlocking images with three-dimensional form and two-dimensional illustration. The human, male– female dilemma is examined throughout. Isupov explains, “Somebody saves somebody, someone loves the other more, they are mutually supportive and destructive, they are opposites — there are contrasts… One is more powerful, they are both survivors.”

Often called an erotic Surrealist for his daring representations of sexuality, relationships, and human encounter, Isupov takes narrative subject matter and merges it with ceramic sculptural form. Drawing on personal experience, and human observation, he creates works that integrate autobiography with universal narrative. He states, “Everything that surrounds and excites me is automatically processed and transformed into…an artwork. […] The essence of my work is not in the medium or the creative process, but in human beings and their incredible diversity. When I think of myself and my works, I’m not sure I create them, perhaps they create me.” While the robust, and racially distinct facial traits make each sculpture unique, they also make the body of work capable of representing universal experiences. The bold color palette, heavily tattooed faces, and textured surfaces relate these works to the aesthetics of traditional Russian art, as well as to contemporary styles of illustration.

Sonya Bekkerman, Vice President of Russian Art at Sotheby’s has written about Isupov and his artistic style within the context of Russian art history: “Sergei Isupov was born in the ’60s, a decade in which Russian artists began to actively question and defy the prescribed artistic ideology dictated by the Soviet Union, and he left in 1983, just before the turbulent artistic breakthroughs incited by Gorbachev’s perestroika in 1987. […] Like many of his contemporaries who sought to express their individuality away from party control, Isupov emigrated to the United States, where he has never stopped looking inward and revealing truths, free associations, and sheer id, no matter how cryptic, filtered through an American and Russian lens.”

Sergei Isupov’s work will be featured in the upcoming exhibition “Bodies Speaking Out: New International Ceramics” at the Museum of Arts & Design, NY opening in September 2013, followed by a mid-career survey at Racine Art Museum in 2014.

Isupov’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Museum of Art and Design, New York; and Museum fur Angewandte, Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany. Isupov has had solo exhibitions at Mesa Contemporary Arts Center, Arizona and The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Missouri. He has participated in group exhibitions at the 2009 World Contemporary Ceramics Exhibition at the 5th World Ceramic Biennale in Korea; The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft; Fuller Craft Museum, Massachusetts; and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Wisconsin. He lives and works in Cummington, MA.

Sergei Isupov is represented by Ferrin Gallery.
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