Brian Chilson
Nataliia Lamanova

Arkansas Times photographer Brian Chilson went to Boswell Mourot Fine Art’s opening Saturday of Nataliia Lamanova’s exhibition, “Unexpected Beauty and Challenges,” and to the artist’s talk on Sunday. He contributes this, as well as her portrait:

For Nataliia (or Natalia) Lamanova, resident in the immense cloister of the Soviet Union, stamps from around the world were a window into other countries, she told a crowd at the opening of her show “Unexpected Beauty and Challenges” at Boswell Mourot Fine Art on Saturday and in remarks on Sunday.

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Hence the Moscow-born artist’s fascination with the stamp as a medium for expression. Many of Lamanova’s “artistamps” satirize Soviet-era propaganda design: people of strong physique marching and in heroic poses. They are unmistakably Russian, Lamanova said, and so nearly like real stamps (right down to the perforation), they’ve been used and franked next to authentic stamps on mailed envelopes. (Some are on display.) She also refers to American patriotism with her “Blue Angels,” in which a central figure is posed before lines of smaller similar figures reach up in military formation. It was inspired by the U.S. Navy’s demonstration squadron, which she saw during a visit to Chicago.

Companion to the printmaking on display is a series of digital animations using the same stamps, but the figures become unleashed, dancing, marching, swimming frog-like across the pages, all created by Lamanova herself.

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The show, curated by Anncha Briggs, runs through Saturday, Feb. 15.