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Conversation about the gallery immediately above
Glenn Wallis: What happened when I showed you that other gallery I’m putting up here on this blog, those paintings of women, and you said—what did you say about them? Did you say that they were women in despair?
Elena Drozdova: A feminist despair.
GW: A feminist despair. And I said they look like they’re enjoying themselves and then you said…
ED: …you were the only one who said that…
GW: …and then you said…
ED: …and then I said that in actuality, the idea of this title, “Feminist Despair,” is coming from the reaction of the public. And the public basically is getting scared. And I have very few friends, and I don’t want them to be uncomfortable with me.
GW: Well, that’s interesting. You internalized what the public was saying and seeing, so now you say the same thing yourself about your art, about those paintings, even though you didn’t see despair, feminine despair, in them…
ED: …see I don’t judge, and this is one of my things that I came up with because I was taught to have a classical, tasteful judgment, and I eventually came up with this solution for myself that I have to accept what comes, and it’s the same when I work with people with intellectual disabilities. This is what we were talking about earlier–me being a teacher and not leading my students to the known paths but allowing them to mess it up, to see where we might come instead, because I just work hard with myself to postpone judgment.
GW: And in this case, the public makes a judgement, and gives you feedback, and you take that to heart…
ED: …I do…
GW: ..because you told me they were women in despair.
ED: I do. Yes.
GW: And when you look at those paintings now do they look like women in despair, or what did you call it, a feminist despair? Do you see that now when you look at them?
ED: I never see them that way, they are just paintings, nothing else. To me they are just paintings. It might be this or might be that but they are just paintings, and I can give them some explanation, some interpretation, but what you see there is what I saw in the blank canvas, and this is exactly what they are.
GW: So the next time you talk to someone about them are you going to say it’s feminist despair?
ED: I mean, I may as well…
ED: Because you either say nothing when people are looking at your paintings–because paintings talk right?–or, if you say something, it can be anything.
GW: But doesn’t it determine too much what the viewer is going to see if you call it something like feminist despair? Especially if you don’t even see that in the paintings…
ED: …I don’t know what I see in the paintings.
Elena Drozdova‘s personal sites:
Portrait show at Café Lift, 428 N. 13th St., Philadelphia, PA (Current, until July 6th)
Central Bucks Byers Juried Art Exhibition, Bucks County, PA
ART IS AGELESS. New Courtland, Philadelphia
HOUR LONG ATTRACTION. Dalet Gallery, Philadelphia
BORDERS. James Oliver Gallery, Philadelphia
MORGELLONS. Annual Invitational Show, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia
ART ENDURES, Main Line Art Center, Philadelphia
HEARTBEAT, Cheltenham Art Center, Cheltenham, PA
9 ARTISTS, Cheltenham Art Center, Cheltenham, PA