Luba Sterlikova, an American artist, author and art curator of Russian descent, is a member of various art organizations in the US and Russia. She participated in over 80 exhibitions in galleries and museums in the United States, Great Britain, China, France, Italy, India, Egypt, Spain, Kazakhstan and Russia.
Her works are in the art collections of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.; The National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan; The Bakhrushin State Theatre Museum, Moscow, Russia; The National Museum of Fine Art of Tatarstan, Kazan, Russia; The Copelouzos Family Art Museum, Athens , Greece; The State Art Museum, Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia; and The Russian State Library as well as in private collections in the US, UK, Russia, France, Germany, and China.
Medium: oil, oil pastel, acrylic, installation, video installation.
Curator of several projects, including the exhibit Posters Come Alive at the Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, Moscow, Russia, 2016 (co-author of the catalog) and Poster Died. Long Live the Poster! at the Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, Moscow, Russia, 2019 (co-author of the catalog)
Author of the book Street Artist. Century of the Entertainment Poster.
Author of the articles on theatrical posters for The Stage magazine.
Free-lance lecturer on poster art at various venues, including International Conference Art Born in the Revolution: Russian Art and the State 1917-1932 (2017, The Courtauld Institute of Art/.The Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK) and International Conference Philosophy and Psychology of the Theatrical Poster (2015, GITIS-University, Moscow, Russia).
At the Russian Academy of Arts, 2014
A whole world is taken in hands…
This labyrinth is just a small part of another one, a labyrinth of time…
Jorge Luis Borges
Luba Sterlikova’s philosophy of the visual is inseparable from contemporary philosophical paradigms of space and time, which identify visual essences within their intellectual layers. Striving to capture reality and represent it as artistic idiom her art balances between the objective and the subjective, between the observer and the participant, while the artist hides her personal feelings behind seeming detachment and the austerity of the scientific-artistic evidence. She knows how to amplify reality and distance herself from it, and thus her art functions as a “vision device” possessing extra-personal abilities. The artist needs her instrument of metaphysical vision which provides her with a scientific optics capable of registering the quakes and oscillations in our virtual civilization. Her pictorial abstractions return their abstract essence to contemporary culture in a modified, non-traditional artistic dimension: she enriches it with her reflections while its imagery is intellectualized and often deprived of realistic forms. Her images graphically emphasize the qualitatively new ties between art and the philosophy of the language where our vision blends with pure reason. Here abstraction is identified not only with the infinity of matter but also with the infinity and variation of conceptual-visual reflections on the essence of the surrounding world.
The artist does not view a painting as a renaissance window onto the world: for her a painting is a system of communicative ties and integrated meanings, a context to be revealed through comprehensive visual-intellectual experiences. Luba perceives herself in this context as an observer as well as an object of observation, one who looks at things and, moreover, who is looked at, who is a center of universal attention. In this ecologically artistic behavior the presence of reality appears as something perfectly organic in conditions of the rhythmic states of equilibrium and pulsing of the inner energy, such as the tides, breathing, arrival and departure, where Yes alternates with No which then changes polarity and returns to Yes.
Artist in the highest sense of the word Luba treats lines and contours as traces of life and not simply as some preliminary dotted lines drafting the future plastic representations. The reality of the visual world for her is part of her own physical state, a path towards the phenomena of life, so that any plastic analysis becomes a personal existence within cosmic models.
In these strange and poignant stretches of time and culture we find a clue to Luba’s art with its inexplicable sense of mission to resurrect and recover what has been lost, to remind people about the continuity of life from one generation to the next, and the accompanying cosmic phenomena thereof, and, above all, about the indestructibility of life as such. It seems that Luba knows a certain secret, that her art possesses a key to the situations constituting the great theater of life which is forever ready to die and rise again, expanding indefinitely like the outer space itself. Her art resides in the borderline areas between past and present, dream and wakefulness, when our mind is capable of embracing cosmic coordinates and we become aware of the possibility to unite with the whole universe.
Each work by Luba Sterlikova enables the viewer to penetrate the inner dimensions of her artistic world and experience the ideal. Its topography is based on cosmic spatial forms inviting the viewer to take part in the creation of mystery-like imagery and thus turning him into a co-creator. Her art disregards distances: initially it appears as a stage on which an event is presented to the audience, but then it begins to draw you into its magic layers where time reaches its limits and stands still. The very structure of Luba’s art, involving a constant process of intense thinking and questioning, is realized following the great cycle of culture and history. Her visual texts open up its glimmering meanings in the manner of rocking oceanic waves. Her images tend to return to the very roots of the universe when the light rays of creation separated the earth from the sky and the world came into view in the radiance of a multi-faceted cosmic crystal. The mirror effect created by these strategies doubles and even multiplies our reality, introduces new dimensions and explodes our traditional linear and unilateral optics. Luba revives the critical force of the archetype in its utter exposure, when a person is alone with himself and is completely immersed in the surrounding space, and thus she endows contemporary culture and its metaphysical iconology with primeval power.
The inner organization of Luba’s art works and their classical structure evolve naturally as concentrated clusters and connections, as a horizontal model of a new artistic thinking. The artist’s unique painting technique and her skill at self-commentary and self-description create an effect of a painting being an object of art where the images form as an ideal artistic gene deriving from the universal cosmic code.
Within this system of coordinates the art of Luba Sterlikova brings to mind a giant battlefield to defend ideals, where behind the scenes of space odysseys lurk the earthly space of our own planet. Her art belongs to the future, to the esthetic ecology, to the phenomenon of saving symbols. Despite her awareness of imminent catastrophes she transforms the tragic into harmonious ideals and images of happiness in her art.
Art critic and curator