Oksana’s earliest childhood memories were of her being trapped inside a body cast in a Ukrainian hospital. Two-year old Oksana spent three years in a hospital bed. The nurses gave her paper and pencils to help past the time. Young Oksana learned to escape her hospital prison with her imagination and her art. She created her own world outside the hospital where she was free to be with nature.
By the age of eight, Oksana’s teachers noted her exceptional talent in art. She challenged and was admitted into the Children’s School of Art in Ternopil, Ukraine. At the age of 17, Oksana graduated with two degrees: her high school diploma and a degree in Art. Oksana continued her studies and received another degree in Art and Architecture in 1990.
For fifteen years Oksana worked as an architect. The first six years she practiced architecture in the Ukraine drawing everything by hand. Later in the U.S., she learned and used computer programs for architects. When the US market slowed down in 2007, Oksana turned fulltime to her passion for painting. Trained as a master watercolorist, she has always enjoys painting beautiful things around her.
Oksana grew up in the Ukraine when it was isolated from the outside world. Fashion in her country was in a vacuum. Everything was dull, gray, and uniform. Since the very first time when she saw an Italian Vogue magazine, she was in love with the beautiful colors and patterns and style. Fashion magazines became a window to a wonderful world in the West.
The artist has found influence and inspiration for her art with many trips to famous art museums around the world. The art of Salvador Dali with his three-dimensional images that seems to jump out of the canvas really captured her interest. She has spent years studying and utilizing his techniques in using color and geometry.
Another layer in Oksana’s art comes with the technique she uses in many of her oil paintings. Before the invention of photography, the Flemish painting masters developed a seven-layer technique to paint transparent fabric like veils and to capture the colors under the skin and produce realistic faces not found in earlier two-dimensional work. This technique is very time consuming with each layer having to dry before progressing to the next step. These paintings take months to finish.
No matter what the medium, Oksana always focuses on the fine detail, a habit from her training as an architect. There are many layers and many stories in each of the artist’s works.
Oksana’s artwork illustrates the continuity of people with nature. This strong connection is maintained throughout her paintings. She balances animals, flowers and landscapes with humanity. In her art everything lives together in peace. Her paintings express her feelings that we should work to regain a harmony with our surroundings. Beautiful subjects and fashion attracts your attention so that you can take the time to get the message in her paintings.
The beauty, fragility and inner strength of women and flowers are recurrent themes in Oksana’s art. Oksana sees flowing petals as the folds of a dress. The delicate lines of a woman and her attire have a beautiful metamorphosis into the wings of a butterfly. A woman’s hair can become a brilliant bloom. Three of her unique paintings were selected in 2014 for international attention.
Two of Oksana’s works became the centerpieces for a juried show in 2014 at the AnnMarie Sculpture Garden and Art Center in Solomons, Maryland that is associated with the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibit titled “Myths and Legends “ featured Oksana paintings of Marilyn Monroe morphing into a butterfly titled “The Show Must Go On” and the Ukrainian version of Thumbelina titled “Duimovochka, the little flower girl”.
In November of 2014, the Mexican Association of the Dahlia featured an article on Oksana and her painting “Frida Kahlo, the Fiery Dahlia of Mexico” for their website. Oksana painted Frida at the heart of a fiery dahlia, the national flower of Mexico.
It is of interest to note that Oksana has many ties to Savannah’s Johnny Mercer. In 2010 Oksana was one of several local artists selected to paint one of the original windows that had been removed during renovations from Johnny Mercer’s childhood mansion. Her painting was also chosen to be the artwork that was donated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame online auction that year. The money raised helped fund the bronze statue of Johnny Mercer, which stands in Ellis Square at City Market. Stephen and Nancy Gerard, the niece of Johnny Mercer, also had Oksana restore the family painting of Johnny that had become damaged over the years. Today, Oksana’s art in on exhibit just a few feet from the Johnny Mercer statue in City Market.
Written by Larry W. Broussard