Famous Austrian modernist Gustav Klimt provided a source of inspiration for many artists. We've already examined the works of the Dutch painter Caroline Westerhout who refers to Klimt's manner to convey her view on the problems of femininity. This time, we share with all the devotees of Klimt the paintings of Ukrainian-born artist Irina Karkabi. Their decorativeness and a recurring spiral motif that is distinctive for Klimt inevitably bring to memory the golden phase of this artist. Yet the main parallel with the Austrian symbolist is the theme of love and lovers prevailing in Irina's paintings.
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Irina Karkabi was born in 1960 in Ukraine. In 1982, after graduation from the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, Russia, she moved to the north of Israel. At the beginning of her career, Irina worked as an illustrator of children's books and a poster designer. Her media are exclusively oil on canvas. The paintings in this article relate to her earlier period of the Golden Romance collection, as Irina states on her Facebook page. Now she works in the genres of landscape and portrait. Her paintings are exposed in British and American galleries and also can be found in private collections.
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In her ode to Klimt, Irina doesn't depict the sexual act itself, hiding the most intimate parts under different modernist patterns. Like in the images of the Austrian artist, we see couples embracing and kissing or struggling with each other. In these pictures, partners are often portrayed as dealing with mutual attraction and antagonism of Tristan and Isolde’s kind. Irina shows us a similar type of woman with long and fleecy hair as in Klimt's pictures. Richly decorated, these divas acquire a traditional symbolic meaning and embody ancient goddesses, virtues like love, hope, and faith, or spring, maternity, and life in general. Unlike in Klimt's oeuvres, there's no femme fatale, Judith or Salome. The only females that can be characterized this way are depicted in a manner closest to Klimt, with patterned dresses and red hair (fig. 10, 11). At the same time, golden spirals in the background refer to those in The Tree of Life, and violets add to the painting their traditional meaning of purity and modesty.
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Click HERE for an article on the Dutch artist Caroline Westerhout who is also heavily inspired by Gustav Klimt
Sources: irinakarkabi.com; catherinelarosepoesiaearte.com