Ilona Sochynsky

Artist Statement:

In my ongoing Fetish series I endeavor to create something that will engage the viewer emotionally. The elegance and softness of sensuous material is overlaid with a delicate netting, the ebb and flow of which modulates the surface of the painting, evoking a seductive cast to the form and structure of the composition. 

Ilona Sochynsky paintings:

Ilona Sochynsky creates richly colored abstract paintings that pour over the viewer in dazzling visual streams. Her works resemble kaleidoscopic images that seem to spin and then to fall into place, leaving behind glowing canvases with a magical sense of order. For several decades Sochynsky has used photography and collage as source materials for experimentation and inspiration in her work. The photo-realistic fragments, pushed and pulled by the strong compositional movement, function as a deconstructed storyline within the powerful abstract forms. Sochynsky’s paintings create a sense of being in the eye of a storm. The paintings achieve a certain feeling of stillness and order that permit the viewer to reassemble the imagery into his or her own unique narrative.


Of Ukrainian origin, Sochynsky’s work reflects both a strong classical art training and a marked contemporary sensibility. Very much a part of the group of artists that emerged in the 1970s, Sochynsky’s work shares many common themes and concerns with her peers, most notably, with the Photo-Realist movement and the paintings of James Rosenquist. The diversity of art of the modern era has sometimes been viewed as a conflict between two basic approaches, the realistic and the abstract. How enlightening and enjoyable it is, therefore, to see an oeuvre that renders the issue moot through a hybrid art that encompasses both realism and abstraction, delving into the visual and conceptual potential of both of these artistic worlds. The paintings of Ilona Sochynsky, as represented by the several series in the current exhibition, demonstrate that the visualization of the non-objective and the natural may be marked by a surprising mutual interrelationship, and that a fascinating art can be built on the borderline of the two approaches. While this selection covers a relatively brief chronological range, from 2008 - 2009, it displays the ongoing development and transformation of the artist’s vision into connected yet distinct themes, each partaking of essential aspects of Sochynsky’s basic concepts of image construction.


Crucial to Sochynsky’s art is the emphasis upon, and appreciation of, the detail. In general, paintings are usually perceived as a whole, after which an observer may study various small parts ­ details ­ that comprise the full image. Sochynsky’s paintings can be apprehended as overall compositions, of course, as all well-made paintings should be, but they are in essence created from details. They may coalesce from bits of shattered imagery that interlock, as in Odyssey, or they may dominate a surface, presenting nothing but what would normally be considered a mere detail, such as the textured surfaces of Fetish Orange and Fetish Sepia. In such works the potential for abstraction inherent in a detail becomes the visual building block from which the total image is generated. In its evocation of vaguely organic forms ­ the indistinct flickerings of suggested vegetal or flesh-like surfaces in the Capriccios or the seductive involutions of fabric in the Fetishes ­ Sochynsky’s work prods the viewer’s imagination toward an animation of the abstract. In its impingement upon geometric art and near non-objectivity, this art acknowledges both the underlying structure of nature and the artificial constructs of human intelligence. Ultimately, through the blending of the naturalistic and the abstract, the ongoing stylistic progression of Sochynsky’s art offers both stability and transformation, and an art of intriguing effect.


Sochynsky received her Master of Fine Arts from Yale and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her paintings are held in a number of private and public collections and she has held numerous solo exhibitions throughout the United States. Sochynsky works and resides in the United States.


Jeffrey Wechsler 

Senior Curator 

Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum 

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey