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Daily Inspiration: Meet Hava Gurevich

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hava Gurevich. 

Hi Hava, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am a full-time visual artist, living and working in Ann Arbor.

I received my BFA in Photography from the University of Michigan and my MFA in Painting from Illinois State University, and have been working in the Arts for the past 30 years as a College Art Instructor, a Photography Gallery Director, and Exhibitions Curator.

Over the years I tried to keep up with my own art making as well, but it was often a challenge with a full-time job. Finally in the fall of 2009, my job became remote, and I had the unique opportunity to move into a tiny cottage in Bridgehampton, NY for a few months. Surrounded by Nature, a mile from the ocean, and plenty of solitude, I had the freedom to focus on my art. This self-proclaimed “Artist Residency” that lasted 18 months proved incredibly productive and inspirational. Walking through the same natural landscape each day, I cultivated a deep connection to nature and started noticing …and really seeing, the smallest details; They helped me find my artistic voice and explore a new direction with my art, rooted in my immediate surroundings but filtered through my imagination. At the end of this “Hamptons Period,” I had completed a new body of work and an exhibition at an Art Museum in Hot Springs AR – it was a big personal triumph.

In 2015 I decided to return to my hometown of Ann Arbor to focus on my Art Career. One year ago, I officially became a full-time artist, and launched my online Fine Art Prints store and my business “Hava Gurevich Art”.

Since moving back to Michigan I’ve had several solo and group exhibitions in Ann Arbor and Farmington Hill. My exhibition- “Inspired by Nature: 20 Years of Art by Hava Gurevich,” is currently on view at the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens until September 11th, 2022

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I was lucky to be able to work in the art world all these years, so I was always surrounded by art. But my biggest challenge has been carving out time to make my own art: the physical space for a studio, and the mental space to be creative. I was living in exciting fast-paced cities, and I was focusing on my career. I often felt too exhausted or just uninspired, and sometimes just felt really guilty that I am neglecting my art.

Sometimes, the best thing one can do is get out of your own way. When I made a decision to make my art a priority, and stop making excuses, things started falling into place.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
My primary medium is acrylic paintings, but I also love drawing & photography, and my creative process often starts with photographs and sketches of details in my daily encounters with nature. I am known for my bold bright colors, my vivid imagination, and my stylized botanical and aquatic “psychedelic” style.

I am inspired by the elegant intricacy of patterns that repeat on both small and large scales across a variety of lifeforms, from single-cell amoebas to entire ecosystems. I look for repeating patterns and abstract them into a series of lines, shapes, and colors, which form the foundation of my own visual language. I refer to my art as “Organic Fiction” – Blending images from the real world and imagination, my art celebrates nature in all its beauty and complexity.

What I am most proud of is being able to see the growth and progression in my own work, see how ideas I might have started to explore 20 years ago are finally maturing, and spawning new ideas that I have yet to fully understand. I like to document the different stages of a painting- as a way to honor the process itself. Very often, new paintings evolve from the photos I took of older paintings in progress. This allows me to go back in time to a certain stage in the process and to take the painting in a new direction.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up.
I have a twin sister, and when we were young, our family moved around a lot, often we just had each other, and we were very close. We created a very imaginative and immersive fantasy game- an epic saga that stretched over several years. This fantasy world was entirely in our imagination- narrated to each other, but was always connected to the present moment and specific locations. I like to think that my vivid imagination as a child is still present today in my art.

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