Lena Ochkalova, 'Chronometer series n.1, Turbulence of time'
65 x 50cm, single-edition mono print, ink on Fabriano paper.
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Sometimes vague impulses and the smallest elements hint on mystical secrets lying hidden in an artwork. Ochkalova is fascinated by the scale and power of nature, especially in comparison between personal solitude and the solitude of a desolate landscape. She is also deeply interested in the connection between human spirituality, still under-discovered, and official cultural knowledge.
Ochkalova develops art ideas as a way to connect both. From this point, the use of different techniques and mediums including pencils, ink, mono printing, collage, acrylics and oil, plus photography and digital effects is quite effective. This allows for a combination of intention and the rule of chance. The main influences for forming the visual language have come from modern Japanese artists (Ryoji Ikeda, Ikeda Manabu, Miyazaki etc.), a new wave of abstract artists from Europe (Paul Kneale, Sterling Ruby, Rudolf Polansky) and such well established names of contemporary Western art traditions as Cy Twombly, Pat Steir, Jannis Kounellis and David Hammons.
Despite the fact that Ochkalova doesn't have formal education in fine arts, she does not identify as completely self-taught. She spent about five years studying classical fine art disciplines (drawing, composition, anatomy, painting and art history) in several private studios in St. Petersburg, Russia, and has strong drawing skills. In particular, Ochkalova acknowledges Leonid Bashkov, Professor of Drawing, who shaped her foundation in art knowledge and gave her the confidence that she can realize her ideas in this field.
All of Ochkalova's teachers had life-long careers in art and were involved in teaching at St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts and St. Petersburg State Academy of Arts, named after A.L. Stieglitz. Additionally she has a Masters degree in Economics (Russia). Apart from her intentions with fine art, she has about 20 years experience practicing architecture. After moved to New Zealand in 2012 Ohkalova has had a couple of exhibitions in Wellington (The Exhibition Gallery, 2013) and in Auckland (The Upstairs Gallery, Titirangi, 2017). Studying at AUT (2012) to achieve a degree of Master of Arts Management provided some additional benefits, especially an understanding the role of art curators. Her most recent body of works was created over the course of this year, and in August 2021 her works were shown in a solo exhibition “Playing With Simple Elements” at The Grey Place Gallery (Auckland).