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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.
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.
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.
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.
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: www.mosaicsphere.com
Enjoy – Nancie