In 2003, Ludmila Aristova left her native Moscow, following her daughter, Elena, to Brooklyn. She looked at the New York City skyline and saw jewels. And so the Moscow Textile Institute graduate who creates one-of-a-kind wearable works of art began making quilts, using the techniques she’d perfected in dress design: applique, piecing, embroidering, beading and needlework.
“The first time I looked at New York, I was in shock, shaking,” Ms. Aristova recalls. “I try to show my impressions and feelings about the environment. It’s more beautiful than Moscow.”
She usually makes a sketch of the buildings, such as the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, that she incorporates into the fiber art. These can be seen at Gallery at Verde in Kingston through Feb. 23. “I want to show my understanding of the big city,” says Ms. Aristova, with translation help from Elena. “I get vertigo from looking up.”
Ms. Aristova says her interest in light is an integral element of her work. “As light changes,” she says, “so does an object’s appearance. A gray building may take on soft pink tones under rays of early morning sun or deep blue tones as night falls. Of course to translate the relationship between light and color through the use of fabrics is always challenging. When the desired result is achieved, however, it is extremely satisfying to me as an artist.”
She gets her silk, cotton and wool from the Fabric District in New York, and she paints the skies. Sometimes she uses tapestry or metallic fabric for texture, and little beads and sequins are stitched in for the windows. Some of the work is done by machine but most is by hand. Her titles alone evoke a magical world: “Night Fell on the City,” “Marmalade Sunset.”
Another wall of the gallery shows her abstract work, paired with Mitch Seidel’s black and white prints of jazz musicians.
Gallery at Verde is open Weds.-Sat., 11 am-5 pm and by appointment: 609 865 5812 / 609 454 3182 / 609 865 5456