First breaths of life as an artist: I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1952, and raised in Bucks County with my four sisters. One of my earliest memories was watching our artist father handle a shimmering leaf of gold while carefully detailing the Byzantine icons he had hand-painted on hollowed eggs. These were annual gifts for the grandparents at Easter. Those small gilded mysteries, and our many visits to Philadelphia’s great museums in my youth, left a deep impression on my artistic vision. My work is an expression of the visible and invisible realms of Nature and Spirituality.
Experience: I acquired a wide range of skills while working in creative environments over many years: I designed, lettered, band sawed and carved signs at a busy sign shop on the outskirts of Philly. Later, I built picture frames, did finish work on custom cabinetry, and was introduced to the Renaissance-era medium of silverpoint drawing while working at fellow artist Richard Tocce’s fine woodworking shop in Titusville, NJ. I painted architectural models to exacting standards in the wildly inventive studio of Michael Graves Architect in Princeton, NJ. I hand-painted many a decorative finish on furniture & objects for Philip Petrino Interior Design. All of these experiences proved invaluable to my artistic expression.
Wood and Bamboo Mosaic: In the 1990s, I began to develop my mosaic technique while assisting in the woodworking shop. I hoarded the discarded scraps of walnut, cherry, poplar, and plywood and spent countless pleasant hours at the bandsaw cutting hundreds of shapes from these natural, dyed, or gilded pieces. These efforts resulted in colorful figurative mosaics that were stylistic portraits, incorporating decorative elements of Byzantine art. Moonlight Swim is a mosaic from that period.
Bamboo Mosaic: My figurative works slowly evolved into semi-abstraction with the introduction of bamboo into my palette in 2010. The thrilling creative possibilities of this elegant natural material were immediately apparent when I split open a pole of bamboo. After much exploration since, I’ve discovered the wondrous versatility of a single pole of bamboo. It can be cut and shaped in countless ways, into strips, strands, bands, rings, ovals, angles . . . resulting in a mosaic of wildly varying components. The stages from rough-cut bamboo to finished tesserae require much hand-tooling and sanding, with each piece in the composition treated as a sculptural element in itself.
Painting: My work is inspired by Nature and Spirituality; the visible and invisible realms. I’ve long been immersed in a theme involving the profound beauty in ordinary objects of the natural world. By using beach stones, seedpods, twisted vines and branches, I’ve explored abstract ideas and have discovered a very personal iconography. The clear sphere that I often insert into these compositions represents a timeless observer, of inner and outer worlds. This ongoing Meditations series began with a few beach stones that I collected from the shores of Findhorn, Scotland in 1996.
Silverpoint Drawing: Silverpoint is a drawing made with a silver stylus on a specially coated surface. Over time, the drawn lines oxidize, acquiring the characteristic sepia tone of tarnished silver. I was introduced to this Renaissance-era drawing medium in the mid-1980s and have been at it ever since. I prepared small panels and fine art papers with a traditional ground, and copied portraits in silverpoint, of the faces from Old Masters paintings by Durer, daVinci, Vermeer, and Velasquez. I still enjoy this meditative medium for quiet explorations of strange and beautiful objects, varieties of seedpods and seashells, flower and tree studies. (The term Metalpoint encompasses any metal that could be used, such as copper, silver, gold; drawings made with these would be known as copperpoint, goldpoint, etc.)
Whereabouts: My home studio is in New Hope, Pennsylvania, where I’ve lived for over 30 years. My art is in many private collections throughout the USA and abroad. I write in depth about my work on my blog The Art Fly and regularly post new work or works-in-progress on Instagram at instagram.com/norinekevolic. I post my silverpoint drawings with these groups on Facebook: Silverpoint and Metalpoint Artists and Silverpoint Artists.