When someone says denim we usually think of the newest collection of casual wear, right? When someone says denim in Anna Zorina Gallery we cannot but think of the latest Kaletski exhibition titled Out of the Blue. The show features the artist’s latest series of paintings executed on denim. Kaletski’s experimental use of this material explores the specific themes usually associated with the color blue, one of which is the feeling of sadness, and another one the sense of tranquility. “I am feeling blue” is a common way of expressing your sorrows, and thus, the blue fabric makes the perfect canvas for the expression of the artist’s emotions and investigations of humor and sensuality. Out of the Blue presents the artist’s venture into a new artistic direction, so if you want to know more, keep reading.
Kaletski paints on denim, a material with an identity of its own, and elaborates more on the implications it carries along with it by adding his own imagery into the fabric. Jeans were popularized by the romanticized depictions of the Wild West and by celebrities that proudly wore it, and soon became a global sensation because they symbolized the rebellious spirit of James Dean and other rebels with or without a cause. Denim jeans were and are the symbol of freedom and a fashion statement about the non-conformity, even though they are now widely popular and sold by almost every fashion brand. Moreover, what was interesting to Kaletski was that denim conforms to the body over time and fades and distresses in a specific manner applicable only to this very fabric. The artist plays with his blue canvas and integrates his imagery into the material and his spontaneous and expressive figures fit perfectly into the casual character of denim. Kaletski realized that the material is a strong and an adaptable surface that allowed for the use of unconventional materials, rivets, zippers, and seams, to name a few. He found that jeans offer the possibility for the vast creative expression and that they are, and have been, a great influence on the American iconography.
Nowadays, denim is the epitome of casual wear. The rich, the poor, the celebrities, the everyman, the farmer, the CEO, they all wear denim jeans proudly and realize the potential this material carries. However, when Kaletski lived in Soviet Russia, jeans were able for purchase only on the black market. They represented the sense of freedom and individualism, so different from the oppressive Communist Party ideology. Upon his arrival to the United States, Kaletski realized the true power of this cultural phenomenon and reaffirmed the famous Regis Debray thought that the blue jeans and rock and roll are more powerful than the entire Red Army. The artist began to view jeans as a fashion statement that matches the creative and rebellious spirit of the people who wear them. Thus, Kaletski is showing us his versions of denim in this exhibition at Anna Zorina Gallery.
Out of the Blue is on view at Anna Zorina Gallery. It opened on Thursday, April 7th, and will run through May 14th, 2016. The gallery is located at 533 West 23rd Street in New York. Kaletski is a Russian-born American contemporary artist who had his works exhibited internationally, and represented in public and private collections worldwide, such as the Caldic Collection in the Netherlands, the Claryville Art Center in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belarus, the Meeschaert Collection in France, and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Collection in California. Since this Kaletski exhibition is already running, make sure to clear your schedule and give this series a look. We are sure the rebel in you will love it!
All images are © Alexander Kaletski and courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery, New York City.
Featured images: Alexander Kaletski - Election, 2016 | Alexander Kaletski - Puppy's Love, 2015 | Alexander Kaletski - Sisterhood, 2013 | Alexander Kaletski - Wears The Pants, 2014 | Alexander Kaletski - Safety Net, 2015 | Alexander Kaletski - Zipper, 2014
New York City, United States of America