"Art in Corona Times | Sheltering in Place
Like much of the US, and certainly all of us in the NYC metro area, we find ourselves amid the “new normal”. We are trying to find a comfort zones staying put amid the COVID 19 Quarantine…"
Glass Arts, Iconography, Illustration, Mixed Media, Painting, Printmaking, Works on Paper
Artist / Personal Statement
"It is not the purpose of the icon to touch its contemplator. Neither is it its purpose to recall one or the other human experience of natural life; it is meant to lead every human sentiment as well as reason and all other qualities of human nature on to the way to illumination."
-- Ouspensky and Lossky, The Meaning of lcons
Close and careful study of icons and their technique has made their reinterpretation an inevitable challenge for me. It is both part of my cultural heritage as well as a longtime, personal fascination with spiritual objects and universal symbols. Using their formal and structural elements as a departure point, I have worked to create paintings in which symbols could be recognized and reinvented so they may reflect the character of the time in which they were created.
My paintings betray a fascination with geometric abstraction, a preference for modernism and an acute awareness of historical context. There is no doubt that my family's rich cultural background has broadened my perspective. But every generation searches for its own vocabulary. I feel that one must assimilate knowledge of the past in order to elucidate the present. It is my attempt to create a synthesis of the things which I find meaningful in order to create a new ideal and a personal aesthetic representative of my own generation.
Turning to icons is just part of the story. Somewhere in my travels I discovered some x-rays and decided to try incorporation of these "bodies" in my paintings. First collaged and then painted into my images these intricate and very evocative forms allowed me to introduce the human figure in the abstract. They provide the template for everyman.
Suddenly, the perspective had changed. The combination of using body parts in the abstract to create modern icons has afforded me a new universal symbol unavailable to previous generations of icon painters. Viewers can now interpret these paintings in relation very specifically to their own selves.
It it in this spirit of discovery of modern symbols and their meanings which a new art can be created.
Accomplishments / CV
Christina Saj is a contemporary artist who started her training working with a Byzantine Iconographer, Petro Cholodny, the Younger. Though versed in traditional methods of painting, she adapts these as needs be to accommodate individual projects. She is open to innovation. Thematically, her work has evolved to explore universal symbols with cross cultural references. Mythologies have always been a point of fascination for her, as these stories and symbols resonate with all peoples and help us to make sense of the world we live in. Bright color, richly patterned surfaces and energetic compositions are her norm.
Her work has been widely exhibited, including such venues as the Museum of Biblical Art, The National Cathedral, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NYC, Union Theological Seminary, The Ukrainian Museum in New York, The Museum of Cultural Heritage (Kiev, Ukraine), the American Embassy in Qatar, as well as at the White House. Her works reside in private and museum collections in the US and abroad. She holds a BA from Sarah Lawrence, an MFA from Bard College and studied Byzantine Art History at Oxford University.
She has had over 20 one woman shows in as many years and maintains an active studio where she welcomes commissions.