Playground of the Autocrats: Works by Anne Bobroff-Hajal


October 4 – January 24, 2021

Artist Anne Bobroff-Hajal has drawn on animation techniques, icons, and formats such as graphic novels to tell stories of Russian geography and history from Ivan the Terrible to Stalin (and Putin). These polyptychs portray—whimsically—the fiery struggles of individual human beings within vast social systems, as shaped by the landscapes in which those humans live.

Miniature Masterpieces: Russian Lacquer Boxes

October 30, 2020 – March 28, 2021

The development of Russian lacquerware, widely renowned for its exquisite detail and bright colors, is a fascinating story of artists adapting local traditions to produce new enterprises. This exhibition features more than 100 lacquer boxes from the villages of Feodskino, Palekh, Khouli, and Mstera. The papier-mâché treasures are decorated with miniature paintings of folk scenes and fairy tales lacquered and polished to a high sheen. This exhibition is made possible through the generous gift of lacquerware from the private collection of Dennis H. and Marian S. Pruslin.

Pysanka: Symbol of Renewal

On view through May 9, 2021 in the Auditorium

Maine-based contemporary artist Lesia Sochor’s Pysanka: Symbol of Renewal, is an exhibition inspired by the beautiful tradition of intricately decorated Ukrainian Easter egg painting.

Sochor’s paintings are narratives told in paint that are prompted by personal experiences. The Pysanka series evolved from Sochor’s annual spring ritual of creating Ukrainian Easter eggs called Pysanky. Depicting the symbolic meanings and traditional motifs of this talismanic object in oils and watercolors spawned a new path of contemporary expression for this ancient art form. Sochor creates a direct link to her ancestral roots by continuing the tradition of Pysanky making passed down by her Ukrainian immigrant mother.

Decorated with traditional folk designs using a wax-resist method, Pysanky are miniature jewels that Ukrainians have been creating for countless generations. The word pysanka comes from the Ukrainian verb pysaty, meaning “to write” or “to “inscribe,” as the designs are not painted on, but written (inscribed) with beeswax.