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Cosmic Powers Earthly Flowers: Yulia Hanansen

On 20, Jun 2012 | 7 Comments | In Art, Artists | By Nancie

Yulia Hanansen "Jupiter: Great Red Spot " 2010 36 x 56 in. Layered stained glass. Winner Best in Show Award, Mosaic Arts International 2011

Exhibiting now at the Cooperstown Art Association in Cooperstown, New York is stained-glass mosaic artist Yulia Hanansen.  The one-woman exhibit entitled “Cosmic Powers Earthly Flowers” combines two bodies of work; Hanansen’s “Starscapes” and “Flower Queens” series.

Stained glass as a medium is favored by many American mosaicists and Hanansen has been at the forefront of finding new ways to exploit the material for years now.  She was one of the first to employ a technique called “layered” mosaic where cut pieces are adhered on top of base layer of stained glass mosaic.  In an article profiling Hanansen in the 2010 edition of Mosaic Art NOW the magazine, writer Paul Anater described Hananen’s style in this way:

Her approach to mosaic is  that of a painter and she likens her placement of glass to brush strokes.  Just as there are no limits to the layers of paint that can be applied to a canvas, Yulia sees no limits on the layers of glass she can apply to her work surface.  The result is a degree of texture and depth that is unexpected in mosaic.  She brings to mosaic her sensibilities as a painter and printmaker and leaves the mosaic world all the richer for it.

"Jupiter: Great Red Spot" detail

"Jupiter: Great Red Spot" Detail

When this work won Best in Show for Mosaic Art International 2011, we wrote:

The background is composed of dreamy, mottled color fields that indicate depth and large, slow movement. The tiny, lozenge-shaped pieces meticulously layered on top of the background provide a staccato, quick-moving counterpoint. Here is the mighty force of the universe at work up close and personal – the energy of chaos and creation personified.

Hanansen’s fascination with the cosmos has provided inspiration for years now.  She says:

Stars are like people with their eccentric personalities. Some burn bright and short, some burn dimmer and longer.  They exist in the infinity of space and time.

"Solar Flare 2D" 2005 30 x 40 in. Stained glass

In these two different takes on the same subject matter – a solar flare – we can see how Hanansen has evolved her technique.  Here are the same lozenge shapes that she utilizes in almost almost all of her work, but the difference between 2-D and 3-D versions is nothing short of dramatic.  The 3-D version looks positively dangerous on many levels.

Hanansen feels that her layering technique is an essential part of conveying the aspect of infinity that is core to her cosmic subject matter.  She says:

The layered glass work is all about infinity.  In a traditional mosaic, the last tessera attached to the substrate defines the finishing mark for an artwork.  In a layered technique, the artist herself can decide when and where to place the last tessera and to end the mosaic process.

"Solar Flare 3D" 2012 30 x 40 in. Layered stained glass.

Hanansen’s earthly inspiration comes from flowers, a subject she has explored for many years.  In fact, the first time she came to our attention was when she did a series of portraits of peonies.  For this exhibit, the artist has created a series of works that link her flowers to times of the day as in “Queens of the Night”, below.  It is a lovely connection between the cosmos and the earth.

"Queens of the Night" 2012 16 x 20 in. Stained glass

Hanansen is a second-generation mosaicist.  Her father, Yakov Hanansen, is highly successful mosaic artist in New York City.  Born in the Soviet Union, Yakov Hanansen has been executing large scale public mosaics for 35 years.  As mentioned above, our 2010 magazine carried a profile story of Hanansen and her father “To Work Without Fear” by Paul Anater.  It really is a fabulous article and you’ll find it here on MAN.

There are more than a dozen works in the Cooperstown exhibit, many of which are for sale and we do hope you will have the opportunity to see this art in person.  We’ll be covering more of Hanansen’s mosaics later this summer when we review the upcoming group exhibit, “Terra Incognita” in July.  In the meantime, please explore more of her art on her website:

Enjoy –  Nancie


Yulia Hanansen "Jupiter: Great Red Spot " 2010 36 x 56 in. Layered stained glass.


"Jupiter: Great Red Spot" detail


"Jupiter: Great Red Spot" Detail


"Solar Flare" 2005 30 x 40 in. Stained glass


"Solar Flare 3D" 2012 30 x 40 in. Layered stained glass.

Yulia_ Hanansen_queens_of_the_night_1200px

"Queens of the Night" 2012 16 x 20 in. Stained glass



Yulia Hanansen "Jupiter: Great Red Spot " 2010  36 x 56 in.  Layered stained glass. "Jupiter: Great Red Spot" detail "Jupiter:  Great Red Spot" Detail "Solar Flare"  2005  30 x 40 in.  Stained glass "Solar Flare 3D" 2012  30 x 40 in.  Layered stained glass. "Queens of the Night" 2012  16 x 20 in.  Stained glass CAA_Hanansen_show2012_750px

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  1. Sherry Jantz

    Your work is so beautiful Yulia! The detail in the flowers if so incredible!!!

  2. Anju Jolly


  3. Melanie Watts Mosaics

    Abolutely breathtaking work ! Exquisite Art, and patience … brilliant !

  4. I particularly responded to Yulia’s comment about how with traditional mosaic technique you’re essentially done when you’ve finished covering the substrate. (not that that’s necessarily an easy task!) But with her layered method – as with painting, it can go on forever! I think it was Leonardo who said, “Paintings are never finished, only abandoned.” That can be disputed, of course, but Yulia has truly taken on another dimension of challenge and exploited it beautifully. The motion and texture are exquisite. The optical blending has aspects both of glazing and of pointillism. Wonderful profile!

    • George,
      Thanks for this thoughtful comment about my mosaics. In a way Leonardo was right, paintings are never finished as artists tend to be critical of their work and want the perfection to prevail. But there is a moment of saturation which happens when an artist works on the same artwork for a long time. It’s a point where an artist has expressed enough and adding to an artwork won’t improve it anymore. Then it is time to leave the artwork alone. “Abandoning” is the only way to detach yourself from your creation and move on to other pieces.

  5. Suzanne, thank you for your thoughtful comments about this article. As an artist I love the feedback about my work. I am looking forward to meeting you at lovely Cape Cod very soon!

  6. Julias work amazes me. Even before I saw her work I dabbled with layering on a much smaller level, but Julia’s technique is beautifully done. I thought this was a very timely article since I am signed up for her class at the cap cod mosaic school the first part of August. This article has me even more exited to meet Julia and get to work with her.
    -Suzanne Demeules

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