Remaining creative during the lockdown period, London-based Russian artist Olga Lomaka has also been keen to give back wherever possible, working with different charities and offering donations of her work to raise funds for much needed NHS support. She says: “The social distancing comes at a great price for both artists and audiences. Artists have been recording their interpretation of lockdown by producing work. We artists reflect on what is happening in the world through our art. But beyond that, art also has the power to instil positive messages (Sir Peter Blake’s rainbow for example), support values and share experiences. Art preserves what fact-based historical records cannot: how it felt to exist in a particular place at a particular time. Art, in this sense, is a vehicle for social change.”
See also: Sotheby’s Russian Art Week
Products of consumerism
Olga Lomaka works across the media of painting, sculpture, installation, print and digital. Constantly experimenting with new techniques, such as carving and aerography, she mixes traditional materials and modern media. Her remarkable style is instantly recognisable, enticing the viewer in with the concrete and the abstract, the familiar and the unknown. Viewed through the prism of pop-art, Olga’s core features are to play with familiar images and products of consumerism, pooling together contrasting beliefs, lending alternative meanings to their symbolism.
Olga Lomaka has been exhibited globally, regularly participating in the world’s most prestigious art fairs and biennales, including Art Basel Miami and the Venice Biennale. In 2018, a central work from her Pink Magic series was included in the Grayson Perry-curated Royal Academy Summer Show, featuring in The Sunday Times and The Guardian. The artist has won numerous art competitions and internationally recognised awards, including Best Contemporary Artist of the Year presented by Phillips Auction House in London in 2017. Her eye for the extraordinary in everyday life allows her to truly reveal spiritual and social themes and concerns.
Threads of what we consider reality, along with hidden dimensions of consciousness and possibility, weave their way through. This is evident in her latest project, Through Time and Space, a series of chrome sculptures in her trademark pop, esoteric and magical style. Presenting her signature subject, the Pink Panther, this time in melting, reflective chrome, the works merge shape-shifting imagery from The Terminator with the elusive, heroic cat, presented as a mirror within the ever-shifting drama that plays out on its surface. You realise it’s your own reflection, pink and gleaming like some luxurious futuristic idol.
Despite its guise of humour, playfulness and vibrancy, this new series is of deep spiritual, philosophical and psychological nature. Through Time and Space is an exploration of the universe, the consciousness which is embedded in it and the multi-dimensional realities of what is possible. As the artist explains, the cartoon-like playful sculptures should evoke positive emotions “just like the ones we felt in childhood: when trees were big and the rainbow shined at every moment.” Through Time and Space was launched this May and will be followed by a new series of prints The Cosmic Voyage (top of page). The prints will be widely available from September via Jealous Gallery.
Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, while completing Through Time and Space, Olga has also been busy working on several other works and charitable projects. Many artists around the world have been adapting to shutdowns by swapping physical spaces for virtual ones. Similarly, Olga has been exploring her Fantasy Projects, creating amazing images of globally recognisable vistas and buildings either wrapped in her artwork or with the intervention of a colossal version of her chrome sculptures. These images encompass iconic landmarks in the UK, the US, Europe, South America and Australia, from Tate Modern’s Blavatnik Building and New York’s Guggenheim to Grand Central Station and the Sydney Opera House.
Recently, Olga donated one of her new Cosmic Voyage artworks to the Reuben Maternity Centre at the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Hospital. “I thought a pop of colour and little bit of Pink Panther star-sprinkled magic, would help to brighten the maternity ward walls and lift the spirits of NHS staff who are working tirelessly to help support expectant mums and their babies through the COVID-19 pandemic.” She has also collaborated with eco-friendly kids’ fashion brand Bimbello on a series of Pink Panther unisex t-shirts. The t-shirts cost £40 and 100% of profits go towards the World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Olga Lomaka’s works can be found in Erarta Museum (St. Petersburg), Pierre Cardin Foundation (Lacoste), Contemporary Art Center “M17” (Kiev), Fine Art Foundation (London), Loyola University Foundation (Chicago), 25 Kadr Gallery Foundation (Moscow) as well as in private collections.
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