Elena is originally from Moscow, lived in Brazil but Oxford has been her home for the last 15 years. She mainly works in oil and pastels to create a multi-layered effect. Over the years of art practice her subjects have ranged from commissioned portraiture to interpreted landscape.
Elena holds regular exhibitions, workshops and demonstrations for various art groups, schools and colleges.
Elena cites among her major artistic influences the landscapes and cityscapes of Wayne Thiebaud and Richard Diebenkorn with their heavily pigmented and exaggerated colours, as well as early works of the German “capitalist realists”.
Having lived around the world, she is still fascinated with everyday corners of the Oxfordshire landscape. When interpreting a landscape, Elena tends to follow her intuition, letting it control the creative process leading the work to its final destination. She likes to allow the recycled surface texture tell the story of its life before its current incarnation in her studio and within her work.
Her current work directly reflects and is based on the interpretation of the Thames path and its surroundings. She loves wondering around the hidden riverside corners away from the tourist trails. This is the Oxford and Oxfordshire that is often hidden from the leisure visitor but is familiar to a discerning local eye. Some parts are nearly or already gone, like the ruins of the Old Mill at the Osney Lock, having been rebuilt as luxury accommodation. Others are still there but are waiting to be changed and replaced in the process of redevelopment. Elena’s aim as an artist is to reflect and preserve in her works the look and the feel of these rather unassuming but familiar riverside century-aged corners. To intensify this feeling of historic wealth and importance, Elena uses recycled materials for her paintings, such as burlap and reclaimed wood, as an addition to the canvas and often as part of the assemblage work.
The preparation process using recycled materials to serve as painting surfaces is long, industrious and sometimes full of surprises. Elena enjoys using burlap and wood with their history, texture and patina of a former life. As she works on a piece of wood or on a coffee sack and matches them to the canvas, she thinks of their previous life. This imagery gives additional inspiration.