Tatiana Istomina is a Russian-born US artist working with painting, drawing and video. She holds a PhD in geophysics from Yale University (2010) and MFA from Parsons New School (2011). Her works have been included in group exhibitions at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum (San Antonio), The Drawing Center (New York) and Gaîté Lyrique, (Paris) among others. Istomina had solo shows in New York (2010) and Houston (2013). She has completed several artist residencies, including the ACA residency, Salzburg Summer Art School, the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the AIM program at the Bronx museum of art. She is currently a participant of the Open Sessions program at The Drawing center. Istomina was nominated for Dedlaus foundation fellowship (2010) and Kandinsky prize (2012) and received awards such as the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2011), the American Austrian Foundation Prize for Fine Arts (2011) and Eliza prize (2013).
Before becoming an artist, I worked as a scientist specializing in data analysis. My research involved collecting data about chemical and physical properties of rocks, analyzing the data in search of patterns and relationships, and building mathematical models describing how the rocks were formed and how their properties will evolve. Today I use the same set of skills to create my art projects: I collect texts, images and video footage, establish their actual or possible relationships, and combine them with my own texts, objects and images to construct believable counterfactual narratives. Depending on the materials I am working with, my projects take the form of documentary films, series of drawings or painting installations. Although different in form and ostensible subject matter, my works address the same overarching theme: they explore the role of historical circumstances, ideologies and cultural stereotypes in creation of personal and collective identities.
My ongoing painting project explores the global narrative of Modernism through the singular story of the life and work of a fictional Russian-American artist, Alissa Blumenthal. The project consists of abstract paintings and drawings attributed to Blumenthal, and the narrative of her artistic career. As a female immigrant painter, Blumenthal never attracted much critical or public attention: despite brief periods of relative success in the 1940s and the 1970s, she died in obscurity. Her works, while reflecting the artist’s preoccupation with the concepts of time and temporality, echo the changes in the visual language of the 20th-century abstraction. By negotiating between the formal problems of abstract painting and the art historical narrative, the project highlights the tensions between the perceived authenticity of abstraction and the viewers’ awareness of its authorship and background, both real and imaginary.
Alissa Blumenthal in “300 years of American Painting” by Alexander Eliot,
Art Editor of Time, Time Incorporated, New York, 1957 (view of the cover),
digital print inserted in a book,
edition of 5 books,
12.6 x 19 in.,