I have been asked to speak about figurative art, about the reason and content of this artistic category.  I have been approached about this because human and animal figures have been the focus of my entire artistic carrier.  They are my way of expression and have developed into my themes and my language. 

I see a return to figuration in a broader sense as part of a cyclical oscillation between abstract and realistic (or figurative) modes of working.  It is natural: every artist looks for their own, unique and unconventional way to express their message and, possibly somewhat subconsciously, wants to choose a method that would make them stand out from the artistic production surrounding them.  It is the result of a latent but natural tendency to attract attention and relay a message.  Because the expressive means of visual art are finite, the mainstream of artists swings, over time, from one extreme to the other.  And so today I can find artists whose work deeply and urgently affects me, regardless of whether their practice involves classical sculpture or abstract video art.  

I also believe that searching for means of artistic expression in a globalized world filled with modern technologies has driven creative output to what seems like the limits of communicability and comprehensibility.  Again, a return to figuration is just a simple reaction to this fact.

Regardless of the form, I think that the most important qualities are the artist’s inner urgency, humanity, strength of their personality and possibly even some sort of a ‘divine blessing.’  An artist feels complete freedom while working.  The work should flow freely, be satisfying and the artist should be looking forward to the results without strategizing or calculating, while giving it their ‘all.’  Our experiences and reflections of the surrounding world are stored within us, and become the instinctive basis of and inspiration for our work.  An artist spontaneously uses the form closest to their nature with a single goal: to most convincingly express what they consider important.  Perhaps the majority of us respond to the growing chaos around us with a counter-reaction: restoring calmness and comprehensibility.  Figuration is a suitable (very appropriate) method for this.  Style is also an important means of expression.  Every artist builds their own idiom.

I often pare things down to a monumental geometric simplicity.  I have been led to that partially through my work with glass, the methods of its production and technological demands.  I tend not to use the optical properties of glass, and try to avoid its distracting effects.  I use glass mostly for its color palette, the versatility of its surfaces, and for the light transmission it affords through the sculptural mass.

The use of glass for sculpture is highly specific, because the material requires a great deal of experience and skill – for example blowing glass in a hot shop, cutting it, making molds for it and casting it – those are all very specialized craft disciplines.  And, yes, perfectly crafted objects, which lack substantive meaning or a message, are a certain dangerous byproduct of these technical skills.  I leave the physical making of my sculptures to master craftsmen and am happier thinking about their content and form.  

Many of my sculptures are calm, dignified and somewhat monumental figures.  They are non-flashy introverts, who do not vie for a top spot in a beauty contest.  They do not harm or aggravate, but there is something disquieting in them, which makes you think.  They are strong personalities.  It is difficult to translate these feelings into words; maybe it isn’t even possible.  And that may be good.  I can analyze the sculptures structurally, but verbally I can only approximate their message.  We perceive and experience art subjectively through the sensors of our soul.

Formally my figures are inspired by the art of indigenous peoples, Egypt and antiquity.  I am interested in their inner character and work to capture it in my sculptures.  I struggle to retain it while working on the surfaces of the glass they are made of – sometimes I fail and sometimes I succeed.  Some of my sculptures stay in my studio for a long time and it can take months or even years before I understand how they need to be finished. 

Another one of my large series are birds.  They seem lively with a myriad of relationships between them, talking to one another, in motion.  They are mostly happy and amazed.  They appear to be spontaneous and, I hope, joyful.  Seeing small children fascinated by my flock of birds is among my best rewards.    

Lately I have also been revisiting large sculptures of animals.  I am not yet able to fully describe or think through the characteristics of this group, which includes The Wounded Lioness, Captured Animal, Angry Crocodile, and the Hunting Eagle.  I believe they are about pain, cruelty and defenselessness, about weakness.  This is my most recent body of work and something I am thinking about now. 

Art eludes exact verbalization.  It lures and provokes.  It emanates.  You can not tear your eyes away from a painting, sculpture or film, or you are fascinated by listening to a certain piece of music.  You can feel anxious and insecure or happy and free. 

Art is truthful.