Vija Celmins: Elegance of Imperfection

Vija Clemins creates images in blacks, whites and greys. Most of her images pose challenges including the lack of a point of reference, horizon or any depth. The images of choice she tends to use are natural landscapes such as a body of water, a barren desert or a starry night. Her use of mark and gesture emphasizes the elegance in imperfections and the organic beauty of nature or real life action.

Web #2, Vija Celmins

Celmins’ marks are particularly uniform, but she manipulates the value of the image depending on where she would like the light to come from. For example, in “Web #2” her marks are of the same thickness, but the shape and the value of the image itself creates a setting where we see a real beauty in nature.

Celmins’ focus on nature leaves room for imagination and manipulation because everyone’s perspectinve on nature is different even though a collective group could agree on a common opinion.

Another nature image, Celmins focuses more on texture and value instead of color with this image of the ocean. Unlike “Web #2”, her marks vary from soft to bold, and those marks determine some of the shadows found.

Celmins shows the coexistence of value, mark and gesture by taking photographs of nature and enhancing small details through the use of shadow or contrast. She focuses on nature to show the elegance in the world around us, and the depth that can be found in an image that may not have a concrete point of reference.

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