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Artist’s Talk: Olga Volchkova

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Published on Feb 23, 2016

Artist Olga Volchkova speaks on the inspiration behind her contemporary icon paintings on view in The Nature of Religion.

Trained as an icon painter and conservator, Russian artist Olga Volchkova uses her knowledge of Orthodox iconography and her love of botany to create provocative paintings that explore the history of florae. Through intensive research about each plant specimen she portrays, Volchkova creates visual narratives that explore the mythologies humans have created around plants, while expertly rendering the form of each leaf, petal, and tendril. She depicts all manner of plant life: decorative types such as lilies, peonies, and roses; edible specimens such as vegetables, fruits, herbs, and plants with purported medicinal properties; as well as potentially toxic examples such as belladonna and datura. Often quoting passages from medieval manuscripts along the borders of her paintings, she succinctly details each plant’s long history and illustrates significant moments.

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