Nura Petrov, Conceptual Artist and Sculptor

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Morning Coffee

Conceptual Sculpture

When I was a student at the Academy we made figure sculptures in clay which were then cast in plaster en route to a more permanent presence in bronze. The procedure of plaster casting involved dipping strips of cloth or burlap into liquid plaster and using it to reinforce structural sequences and seal seams before pouring plaster into the mold. I looked on these objects as potential sculpture, with their intriguing negative images and suggestive loosely drawn contours.

In later years I worked directly with plaster dipped cloth and more recently with a variety of textiles impregnated with glue. Cocoons, for example, are made utilizing this method.

This in turn led me to conceptual works in which contemporary artifacts such as cups and utensils, coffee makers and irons, souvenirs from beach walks etc are treated as precious ritual objects and are wrapped as carefully as the skeletons of Egyptian Pharaohs. But the outer shapes of these bundles, unlike tomb mummies, do not reveal their contents. Jersey Shore, Morning Coffee, Dining Out and others are designed on this principle to refer to archeology as well as art. A series of X-ray photographs arose from these—continuing to integrate art and science. Some of the photographs count and describe the encapsulated contents of the bundles, others depict and document their original usage before their "burial". Kitchen Bundle and several others don't encase anything but share the intention of Cocoons in that they are mysterious and sinister.

It should be noted that my work does not emulate or do homage to Christo and Jeanne Claude. I admire their work as innovative environmental art important because of its monumentality and impermanence and its assertion that we can rethink the relationship of art to our surroundings. Architecture, geological structures etc become part of their art work demonstrating that a new context can suggest new meanings. Like Sol Le Witt and other contemporaries, they demonstrate and redefine the role of the artist by allowing the public to participate in the making of art and its perception.

My art is as intimate and intellectual as a book. It continues to question the nature of art and objects rather than focusing on the role of the artist making them. My objects inquire into the nature of mind and art. How do we find and perceive things? What do we value and why? How do we catch a moment or idea so that it can be savored or pondered? Where does science and quantitative inquiry begin and qualitative experience continue and end? What are the overlaps and shared characteristics of these two? How are memories preserved and altered through time?

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Dining Out

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New Cocoons

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