New York

Ronni Bogaev

Sherry French Gallery

In this series of works inspired by a recent trip to Scotland, Ronni Bogaev reveals a keen ability to capture life’s more vital and alluring aspects. With photos and sketches of actual places serving as a starting point, Bogaev builds her compositions around selected motifs. She will frequently include a detail derived from her daily surroundings, a home and studio in southern Florida. In leaving herself free to alter reality, as it were, she creates a world in which fact and fiction, illusion and appearance, function as integrated elements in a synthetic but seamless universe. Each painting is a scene, in the broadest shades of meaning of the term—a visual spectacle inviting us to enjoy the sheer palpable pleasures of things.

The Belle of Langley Chase, 1988, is indicative of the artist’s approach, which shows itself to be both investigative and descriptive. Bogaev chooses a viewpoint that is unusual in terms of the striking perspective it affords of this interior. She forsakes a sense of the overall space of the room in favor of an unmitigatingly direct use of close-up. Various species of flowers—gladiolas, mums, white carnations, and peonies, all individually articulated—make up the overflowing bouquets that spread across the surface in tapestrylike fashion. The powerful modeling of their intricate forms gives the flowers a convincingly lifelike quality, so much so that they seem to have broken out of the picture plane. That sensation of forward movement in turn imbues the work with a lilting air of dynamism. The rest of the composition is dominated by a depiction of an 18th-century portrait of a fashionably dressed woman, which has been cropped to emphasize the torso. The figure seems to be floating, a presence in transit from past to present, perhaps. Bogaev shows a great sensitivity to various effects of light, lending the work a sensuous atmosphere. Similarly, in The Greenway, 1988, the light flooding the threshold between two rooms is a source of energy and warmth that gives to the meticulously rendered contents of these rooms an added sparkling quality.

Ronny Cohen