"Bog Bodies" Inspire New Exhibit at the MATV Gallery

In the MATV Gallery - the artwork of Croatian-born Lidija Vukovic is inspired by the discovery of bog bodies, the ancient preserved remains of humans found in Northern Europe and the British Isles.

The creative bond between sculptural hats constructed from sand and acrylic paintings inspired by bog bodies may not be obvious at first, but for artist Lidija Vukovic, the two collections of artwork come from the same part of her imagination that looks at natural elements and sees what might be. These works are part of an exhibit called “Flowing Stillness”, the latest show running at the MATV Gallery from September 10 – November 2, 2012. Please join us for a reception with the artist on Saturday, September 29, from 5:00 - 6:30pm. 

The hats, constructed of sand and wire netting, bridge the art and fashion worlds; the sculptural designs are wearable and have appeared in fashion shows in Croatia, from where the artist moved to the US in 2004. Sitting at the beach, wondering what type of inexpensive medium to use for art school, Vukovic realized an abundant raw material was all around her. She said she “felt excited creating something that in reality would never be associated with the sand.” The hats may be colored with acrylic paints and perhaps whimsically depict a vignette, while others rely on design shape alone to create their visual impact. (Please note: the hats will only be on display at the public reception on September 29).

Years later, a new inspiration hit Vukovic when she came across a National Geographic story on bog bodies, which are preserved bodies that were discovered in and recovered from the peat bogs of Northern Europe, Great Britain and Ireland. Most of the bodies have been dated from the European Iron Age, beginning around 2000 BC. Just as the faces of these bodies often remain visible, human faces emerge from some part of the image in each of the paintings, which are composed with dark colors in acrylic paste for an effect that suggests organic matter and such elements as the wind and the sea. The dark earth colors are sometimes perceived as foreboding, but Vukovic was attracted to the subject matter because she sees the bodies as representing how humans are part of the planet’s life cycles and recognizes this as a connection to nature that should be celebrated. What goes back to the earth is needed for rejuvenation and birth.

Vukovic has been studying art for many years, and she attended the School of Art and Design (Rijeka) in Croatia, where she also participated in numerous art exhibits. She had her first US exhibit right after her arrival in the US, at the Wave Gallery in New Haven, CT. She has since exhibited in Boston, Cambridge and other area galleries. She was also behind the 2011 Malden Reads painting done with YWCA teens in 2011 and the Malden Reads Mural done at the “Soccer Extravaganza” in 2012. With a wide-ranging educational background that includes receiving a master’s degree in special education from Simmons College, Vukovic has found that her earlier education in oceanography, geography, and history has had a great impact on her artwork, and she anticipates that nature will continue to provide her with both inspiration and materials for her art.

The public is invited to attend the exhibit reception on Saturday, September 29th, from 5:00 to 6:30pm. Refreshments will be served and a 12-minute video exploring Vukovic's intriguing artwork will be screened. Viewing hours for the exhibit are Monday–Thursday, 10am-9pm; Friday, 10am-6pm; and Saturday, 10am-2pm. Handicapped accessible, Malden Access Television is located at 145 Pleasant St. in Malden Square.

(Article by Leslie A. Weston)

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