You are preparing for your first solo show opening in Florida. Could you please tell us more about the exhibition?
Although I have one oil painting in this exhibition mostly I paint acrylics. Essentially I work with mixed media, most of these are canvases. At times found objects and wood backings are used as palettes and later incorporated into painting and sculptures.
How did you connect with the Nac Gallery?
My friend, David Datuna, introduced me to Vincent and Carla here at NAC. Last year they invited me to show a large steel sculpture at ArtHampton in Bridgewater, NY.
You were known for your sculptures before you started painting again. Why did you decide to express yourself through painting?
I never really stopped painting despite the fact that I am known for my sculptures. I don’t see a boundary in between. Both are expressions of my creative intentions.
Can you tell us more about your painting technique?
I use acrylic primarily, occasionally oil. I tend to paint heavy and in multiple layers. I use palette knives and often fill plastic bottles with paint to make long thick lines. The paintings evolve through trial and error. I have no predetermined vision. I paint quickly and allow the painting to change daily until I find what I need.
What themes do you explore in your art?
I am not certain that “ explore” is an accurate description of my process. I consider my work to be abstract while a discover figures along the way.
How does your native Georgia inform your art?
I studied in Tbilisi but didn’t take my work seriously until I moved to New York in 2002. I felt extremely grateful to be here and art seemed to me a way to express gratitude.
Your central figures are often animals. Do you associate specific characteristics with each animal?
I do. For instance, the bull I associate with physical power. I associate the wolf with a sense of intimidation that is not always deserved. Each figure has an association, but I don’t need to overstate this. All is open to individual interpretation.
Why do you choose those animals?
While preparing the surfaces for my work, often I find an animal in these marks. However, the find result is not always this initial vision. One animal often mutates into another.
Why did you choose the title “Zurism!” for the forthcoming exhibition?
That was not my choice. I assume Vincent and Carla chose this title. Perhaps they perceive individualism peculiar to my work.
What are you looking forward to the most about coming to Florida?
It's always exciting to show my work in new venues, particularly in such a beautiful place. I hope to reach people beyond New York. Miami is new to me and my work is new to Miami.