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 › "Fantasy and Visionary Art of Nina Tokhtaman Valetova" by Amasin Art Gallery

The world has seen the works of several talented artists; these artists have always thought out of the box and their works spoke volumes about their creativity and talent. This review will shed light upon the works of Nina Tokthaman Valetova.

Nina Valetova’s use of oils is without a doubt exemplary, the representation becomes all the more special with the creativity of the artist. Figurative and abstract imagery has been very well portrayed by the artist; the experimentation with different colors has also come of well in all the works.  The hallucinatory effect which is conspicuous in several paintings is the result of the perfect blend of oil colors, very few artists in the whole wide world can create such a fine impact.

The theme of fantasy and visionary art has been very well presented in the works, this only goes to show how talented and creative the artist really is. Nina deserves to be extolled for her exceptional creativity. The works also reveal several tales but the viewers must put their heads to good use because she does not present the whole tale, most works need to be deciphered, only smart viewers would be able to do so.

Her works are very enigmatic, at times the viewers feel that the works are frozen in time, the next second they feel that the same works are brimming with life, it becomes very incomprehensible for the viewers to understand the enigma surrounding the paintings. This again goes to show the ability of the artist to keep the viewers on tenterhooks.

Each canvas is unique and presents new stories reveled by the artist, such uniqueness is hard to find elsewhere. The artist has put in a conscious effort to actively experiment with dimension and composition which has given an edge to her works over others, the paradoxical nature of the works has made them much more intriguing than it originally would have been. A viewer who is short of philosophical depth would not be able to comprehend the theme of the different canvases. The artist has dug deep to find irrationality of the modern society and several paintings portray the same. The unpredictability of the modern day society has also been presented in several paintings.

To conclude it is very fair to say that Nina is certainly unique from other artists. She dares to experiment and think out of the box, her experimentation with different oil colors has always paid off, her experimentation with structure and dimension has also been very successful.

Lastly, one needs to have philosophical depth to be able to comprehend her works, her works appear to be frozen in time yet appear lively, the ability to do this is unique and deserves plaudits. Her interpretation of the contemporary society is spot-on; her works reveal her interpretation of the modern and irrational society of ours.

Official website of Amasin Art Gallery

 › "Alternative Worlds of Nina Valetova" by Sergey Kuskov

When you begin speaking about a new art phenomenon, it makes sense to start from what is known so that you can outline an artist’s originality within some trend and terms and thus determine and evaluate the artist’s true novelty and singularity.  Which modern world art direction could Nina Valetova’s painting be referred to, considering that her art stands out distinctly from the common local criteria? Perhaps it is surrealism?  It is reasonable if thinking of it to a wide extent: surrealism is not entirely Dali’s and Magritte’s image-aimed technique which is mistakenly supposed to be the only standard of surrealism.  Apart from that, one should not forget that surrealism was conceived not merely as a painting style but the way to achieve an altered and expanded state of consciousness and the way to alter the reality itself.  Our artist is seemingly quite far from Freud-Marx’ materialism of the former surrealism in general, but she accepts its alchemy-esoteric and psychedelic features regardless of her awareness. After all, in her works she does not obviously reconcile herself to a common everyday reality which is allegedly imposed to be the only one possible and that everyone perceives ‘as is’ whereas she is eager to go beyond the empirical look in order to obtain a super reality.

Nevertheless Nina Valetova’s art requires more precise than surrealism definitions.  There is more mystical and metaphysical attributes in her works than in the world view of surrealism which was seen as a collective art-psychology by its theorist A. Breton.  At the same time he proclaimed “brilliant revenge of imagination as a true Philosopher’s Stone” and this is meaningful to us.  Perhaps what we need is a definition like “fantastic realism” or a more exact term “metaphysic realism” (this definition was invented by Daniil Andreyev and is now cultivated by such master of Russian esoteric literature as Y. Mamleyev).  Besides, it is obvious that in our case it is not an unbridled emancipation of particularly private sub consciousness with its psychoses and complexes (which can be explained in Freud’s words) and what is typical for ordinary surrealism, but it is the exit of Unconsciousness (in its high Jung’s meaning) through the gates of imagination using archetypes towards something real and ontologically genuine which is in some way objective essences of a multilateral thin world.  

If we refer to the interpretation of different types of creative work from the point of view of Jung’s “depth psychology” then we may doubtfully identify a visionary type of art and artist.  As it is known, a visionary art experience assumes a certain affinity between art work and mystic’s vision with experiencing a dip into mystery like shaman’s “journey”.  An artist’s vision is like their dream in this context.  It is not really important whether art vividness has any real visual experience in its basis (in dream, in reality or any other). What really matters is that there are vivid traces of breakthrough beyond the visible and there is a noticeable fundamental tendency to a bright figurative visualization of the Invisible and the Unknown.

This artist’s original “cosmism” can be interesting to think of. It goes without saying that it is not about natural physical cosmos.  The artist’s cosmos is by no means a field of interest of science fiction writers or futurologists or spacemen.  It is not a space where one can go to on the most powerful rocket; this space is not accessible for the smartest technology and even for the most paradoxical axioms of the modern science.  Probably it is close to astral essence or occultism’s thin world but without author’s intention to use the existing signs and symbolism accepted in this area.  The same approach is noticeable for the artist’s explicit desire to explore “the forth dimension” via the play with space. This makes sense if perceiving this spiritually, for instance in accordance with Uspensky’s esoteric concept. However this is neither “the forth dimension” nor any other dimensions which can be identified or revealed from known facts and knowledge.  And this is not about “other dimensions” which can be found out and measured in one day, exploring them with power and harmony of science.  It is about the space with original logic in it.  But this logic, if it can be described more or less exactly at all, is far from the logic of natural science – this logic is purely aesthetic and paranormal, the nature of which is similar to the secret vision.

When talking about Nina Valetova’s painting, one can emphasize that her form, color, plasticity along with figurativeness embody some mystery secret reality.  In this “magic theatre” of imagination specific visionary grotesque acts and performs, reminding Bosch’ traditions.  But irony alongside with a piece of black humor does not contradict to any extent with common seriousness of intentions and results.  Presented reality features magic colors.  However the vivid and resonant coloring is not an end in itself, it is not the means of making the eyes enjoy, but it is the guide of ideas and dominant state of mind.  Juicy colors are supplemented with rigid and sharp energy of the black as if some wandering line between a break and a linking rupture goes across the colored space in both an ornate smooth and angular way, like some “crack between the worlds” (C. Castaneda).  Unobtrusively iridescent spectral color decomposition is the way to color originality and initial elements of the visible.  At the same time, it represents the likely aspects of disassembling common vision:  false material objectivity looses its original colors when decomposed.  The artist often dares to invent explicit toxic color forms into a smooth order of coloring.  However she is able to turn the color poison into remedy, making the power of destruction serve the aims of creation of new organics.  As regards including clear spectral pieces it is worth noticing that a rainbow and a spectrum in the symbolism of tradition are closely connected with the theme of “The Chain of the Worlds” (R.Guenon), revealing the connection between objective plans and incarnating the Bridge between them.  A play of colors is also meaningful in psychophysical and occult observation of aura.  Such internal thoughts, perhaps not being explicitly realized, are embodied into a non-verbal text of this painting.

Special attention should be paid to laconically intricate planimetry of intra-picture space and its original topology and recognized architectonics which is not accidental and can not at all be regarded as just exploring a formal technique.  Apart from the architectonical structure, architectural motives themselves are indicative of what is often met in the artist’s pictures. There is also a peculiar paradoxical irregular architecture of image, geometry of odd shapes.  What could it be?  Perhaps it could be breaks and fractures of refractory Babylon towers or the memory of topped ziggurats; or may be a hint and an allusion to Jacob’s ladder and other prophetic steps of ascent into under-heaven and supra-heaven spheres; or it could be a projection of ancient ruins, postcatastrophic debris, zigzags of which reminds us of stone cryptograms of prophetic labyrinths.  Nevertheless these constructions, as other structures of intra-picture spaces, are built up from the material that is apparently unknown on Earth.  In these shapes with their power shifts one can recognize echoes of bygone futuristic storms; at times their ledged geometry, raising high into a different heaven, are like shapes and curves in the ancient Russian painting.  In addition, it is noticeable that the architecture as well as other landscape spheres, behaves like some strange curious living creatures that are not under control of natural mechanic and cause-and-effect relations including gravitation.  In the world that is created here or rather being a half-opened continuous metamorphoses, like an alchemy transmutation, take place as well as an inter-transformation between the animate and the inanimate, the organic and the inorganic, the mineral and the vegetable, the zoomorphic and the anthropomorphic, the natural and the artificial.

Synthesis of the incompatible is being looked for.  It is interesting that architectonic motives are able to come back to our dimensions all of a sudden being embodied into a dense matter and become accessible even for the sense of touch.  What is meant here is a special organizing and initiating role of irregular geometric figure enclosures – that are purposefully created at times – the framing for entering into a Different World.  Upturned trapeziums, oblique angles, curves and so on are the way to destroy habitual coordinates and references established regarding painting and visual reality.  Besides, they are verges, boundary matter, transition zone that are of high interest of the “beyond the limits travelers”.  It is noticeable that the artist pays attention to unsafe disturbing areas of this mysterious alternative reality.  Through-themes, images and situations are at times inferno demonic and catastrophic that is typical for the artist’s painting.  For instance, involution and aggravation motives of monster characters, mutations, the Fall and degeneracy reveal a brave inclination to looking into different abysses and “black holes” which are hidden behind the pretended prosperity of existence.  At the same time there is no reasoning and hypocritical moralizing.  It is likely that the author’s position is seen behind “good and evil”.  This position enables the artist to explore the worlds from a panoramic distance and allows the artist to tame all the ugly, dangerous and hideous, from the Beauty’s point of view, essences that display the material without embellishing it.  Only from the distance and from above, having gathered esthetic estrangement, it is possible to feel and understand, that indeed “the height grows from the abyss” and “the beautiful is the beauty that defeats horror” (F.Nitzsche).  It is appropriate to recollect the interpretation of “The Absolute Different” in “Last doctrine” by Y.Mamleyev, meaning, by interpreting this writer and philosopher’s thoughts freely, his idea about some dark, irrational, paradoxical and insane periphery, some “dark side” which exists in the “Absolute” itself.  And this “dark side” is essential to the “Absolute” to a certain extent, assuming endless increasing of the unknown which can not be cognized even using the higher knowledge.  In our existence the most absurd, insane and phantasmagoric breaches in the matter of habitual everyday relations just reveal the presence of the different. That is why it is so attractive for people of art and particularly for the artists who feel the touch of the beyond.  This is exactly what can be referred to our artist regardless of her tangible results’ perfection.

With all this going on the artist’s method of style becomes increasingly more adequate and convincing with respect to the most important art tasks.  She gets rid of some drawbacks gradually, which could be noticed in her early works. For example, she overcomes excessive dryness of pictorial-graphical solutions as well as excessive scenographic effects and theatricality of some spatial constructions.  Now they are more natural and convincing.

At present time the artist has an important mission of compensating the missing and insufficiently developed art problems: if we recollect the 60s and especially the 70s in the most advanced art environment, there was a distinct inclination to mystical and metaphysical ideas and concepts.  Such mentality becomes actual now again, but it does not yield fruits in art field yet.  In the 70s this trend, in the independent art, led to quite ambiguous, heterogeneous results in a qualitative sense (recollect the phenomena of “Malaya Gruzinka”), however it was essential to the spiritual need of the time. During many years there had been dominance by social art and its earthy style at the beginning and then the conceptualism with its dry intellectualism, scepsis, all-corrosive irony and its denial to the potential of real painting. Nowadays, according to the law of flux and reflux, the other times come. At present time there is a need for volunteers to plunge through the painting into a newly opened magic authenticity of visionary spaces looking for signals from the unknown limitlessness.  Nina Valetova goes exactly along this way and promising perspectives are open to her.  After all, the conclusive idea is that the art of painting in accordance with its nature goes beyond the limits of itself and meets to some extent with concepts of mystic gnosis which is the cognition of the unseen and the unknown.

[signed]

Wikipedia page about Sergey Kuskov

 › "World From the Other Side" by Sergey Kuskov

In the art of Nina Valetova one can see original adoptions as well as timely overcoming of postmodernist artistic language. She uses the concept of "double coding", having in mind the situations when the same piece of art carries in itself entertaining and fascinating information that is available for wide audience, and also contains a completely different message that is intended for elite intellectuals, for advanced and dedicated addressees. Here an analogy with ancient distinctions between esoteric and exoteric levels of understanding of texts and symbols can be seen, but then interpretation of the artistic figures would have their vertical spiritual dimension. Tendency toward true, instead of stylized, multilevelness is now more and more noticeable.

The artist's painting appears as an open structure. The space itself is often multicentred even in the bounds of one composition. Frequently inside of the composition, linear, reverse, and some unheard-of combinatorial perspectives are combined. Unlimited diversity of color-light metamorphoses, original back and forth conversion of figural images and elements of abstraction, and so on, are observed. Significant, for example, is paradoxical interpretation of architectonic motives that is even separated to "irrational architecture". Here motives of iconic settlements, which are interpreted by no means canonically, and constructions of renaissance perspectivism, passed through the prism of European "metaphysical painting" of 20th century, are deconstructed and assembled into new, original, and strange integrity. Anyway, inside these small spaces of the painting, architecture is formed that is monumental in its own way, but is also certainly nonfunctional, absurd and irrational, that is what adds intrigue of riddle and fantastic expression to it. One could remember the architecture that is produced by madness in Borsches' "Immortal".

In general, everything stable in the painting comes into motion, hard-congealed becomes metamorphously reversible to crystallize and again congeal in some metaphysical motionless magical form. General space itself is sometimes on a plane, without depth or perspective, hermetically closing on itself, and sometimes is as it was falling into some kind of cosmical bottomlessness with its clots of black holes and low-density areas of probable outlets into certain "other dimensions", which are mystical instead of physical.

Unlike in radical "Vanguard" art, the plot is not ignored. The plot slips away, it is half ciphered, and therefore interesting with its multiple and ambiguous interpretations and ways of understanding. Concrete artistic solutions make a complicated alloy of forms that exclude indication of concrete sources. We will note that characters in the paintings are endowed with mysterious nontransparency of meaning, what makes them symbols, and this way they are joined to the Mystery. Being on the other side of all the evident historical canons and classical mythological characters, they are nonetheless appearing related to traditional mythology with its esoterism. All of this comes not only through cultural resources, which the artist has without doubt, but also through deliberately open channels of Subconsciousness and Unconsciousness. Archetypes, above character in their essence, require for their embodiment, on the opposite, clear individualization of themselves, as well as of their guide/artist, who is often, like a visionary, brings together his own artist's vision and Knowledge, or, in other words, sees the "World from the other side". This is not an accident that one of Nina Valetova's program cycles bears that name.

Wikipedia page about Sergey Kuskov

 › "Looking Closely..." by Tatiana Usacheva of ArtYarmarka

Looking Closely...

Looking closely at Nina Valetova' s paintings one can't help but wonder if Alice felt the same way when she found herself in Wonderland – enchanted and anxious at the same time.

"Everything is so vague and intricate in this strange country
It is easy to get confused and lose one's way.
Just imagining what could happen
Gives you goose bumps... " (V. Vysotskiy, "Alice in Wonderland").

It is hard to imagine what lies before a traveler who would dare to set out on this journey, the names of the paintings speak for themselves: "Parallel Space", 2000, "Two Dimensions", 1998, "Guest from the Antiworld", 2000, "Distant Worlds", 2001. Unknown structures rising up high ("Overcoming", 2000), stairs leading from nowhere to nowhere (or they could be leading from the velvet emptiness of the night straight to its fragrant summer core, "Summer Night", 2000) – it is all so mysterious, so enthralling!

Nina Valetova began her creative work in Ufa, where she studied at the Art and Graphics Department of BSPI (Bashkir State Pedagogical Institute). After that she worked in the USA for a few years: a few exhibitions were held in New York and Dallas. Successful exhibitions were also held in Moscow, Ufa, Petersburg, as well as in Denmark, Austria, and Germany.

"Here stories wander down the roads
and fantasies hurry along on their skinny legs." (V. Vysotskiy, "Alice in Wonderland").

When looking at the painting "Parallel Space" it seems that there are no limits to the space, it flows infinitely, embracing the fragile figure of a kneeling man, it seems just about to splash out beyond the painting, as though blown over by a gust of wind. In the painting everyone will see something of their own. It could be the space, where the man is now, or the space, where he is looking, or the space behind him, where a little door is ajar, through which a tiny white figurine is seen; someone will say – the connection of times has been broken, someone will mark the mixture of plans of life, – and everybody will be right. As every said word evokes an inner answer in the same way every artistically portrayed object evokes individual associations. Nina Valetova lets every painting affect the spectator directly, because the task of an artist is not to "raise a laugh or draw tears", but to awaken a dream, let the work of the imagination start, put together a free mosaic of associations.

Official website of ArtYarmarka

 › "Metaphysical Realism Art by Nina Tokhtaman Valetova" by Thomas LeVar

Bringing to mind artists like Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and M.C. Escher, Russian born artist Nina Tokhtaman Valetova’s unique art blends reality with the abstract to transport the viewer into a different world.  Though her art may be looked upon as surrealist, it goes a step beyond.  By juxtaposing shapes, color and subject matter within the same painting, Valetova’s ultra imaginative style challenges conceptions about what the art style is about.

One moment you are focused on a familiar object and the next you are trying to understand what you are looking at all.  One could get lost in her paintings for hours and ponder many different inspirations for each. Her artistic viewpoint has earned her exhibitions in China, Italy, Austria, and the U.S. and her works have been featured in several classic art magazines as well.  To learn more about Nina Valetova, take a look at a sampling of her works below and visit her home on the web – HERE.

Official website of Thomas LeVar
 › Review in ArtisSpectrum Magazine

Nina Valetova’s elusive and highly innovative oils on canvas present revolutionary new ideas of postmodern representation. Blending together both figurative and abstract imagery, Valetova’s imaginatively colored works create an almost hallucinatory effect. Lines bend, shapes undulate and dual feelings of horror and elation combine and intermingle at every turn. Often drawing comparisons with Surrealism, Valetova’s works have a dreamlike quality wherein objects frequently morph into one another, landscape becoming figure, figures dissolving into total abstraction. Valetova invites viewers to join her narrative journey, but excitingly, only relates pieces of the tale. Viewers then become responsible for deciphering the remainder of her message, questioning and examining every line and brush stroke.

The intriguing dual nature of her works continues with the dichotomy of visual movement that pervades each canvas. The work seem at once frenetic and active, yet frozen and almost incomprehensibly calm. Valetova experiments with dimension and composition, leading to amazing results: paradoxical works of intended absurdity. In doing so, she produces works not only of stunning beauty and philosophical depth, but which comments on the unpredictability and irrationality of contemporary society. As unending wars are waged and beloved family members die, life continues on and as her paintings so poignantly articulate, when one thing stops another keeps going.

Born in South Ural, Russia, Valetova finds continual inspiration in her personal history and in the cultural heritage of her familial lineage. An avid student of Eastern philosophy, Valetova herself adopts a Zen-like view of the world which provides a fascinating counterpoint to the energetic canvases of her art. Yet the intense appearance of her paintings is no accident. Instead, Valetova consciously chooses arousing colors and imagery to inspire her viewers to effect change within the world. Knowing she cannot do it alone, she hopes those who appreciate her art will appropriate her message and spread it to the masses.

Official website of ArtisSpectrum Magazine

 › Review by Agora Gallery

Nina Valetova's mind-bending paintings stake out fresh territory in contemporary surrealist painting. Her images tap directly into an occasionally nightmarish realm of the human subconscious, where faces dissolve and disintegrate, and the human body can morph into landscape, atmosphere or architecture. Her images also reveal our contemporary obsessions with political power, dictators, oppression, ferocity, and the accompanying emotional malaise. She unearths images which disturb precisely because they speak to our own collective fantasies and anxieties. Influenced by Hieronymus Bosch as much as Salvador Dalí, Nina's works are just as accessible and complex as those two surrealist masters.

In addition to the commentary on human nature's follies and foibles implied in her works, there is pathos in her images, in the faces she presents to us, and no matter how bizarre her imagery, how distorted the bodies, faces and landscapes of her subjects, she creates her worlds with a strong sense of composition, and holds up a mirror for us which is both cultural and deeply personal.

Official website of Agora Gallery

Note: Critique listed above is not intended to include all reviews written to date. Additional material will be added as practicable.