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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Speaking through art

English is his second language and Russian is his first, but for the Moscow-born artist Ted Vasin, his native tongue is his art.

Just don’t ask Vasin to communicate his inspirations.

“I try not to talk about my art,” Vasin said. “It is more about the experience. When you talk about it, there is not much you can talk about.”

The artist will try to continue this conversation through his art Friday when he presents a live sound performance at a reception Friday at 7 p.m. at the Davis Art Center, which is located at 1919 F St.

Titled “Painting and Sound,” his work is a fusion of sublime shapes and colors splashed across canvas to the tune of a sound installation, which is currently on exhibition at the Davis Art Center.

“I like the space at the art center,” Vasin said. “We liked the vibe of the space. It is like a church for art. It is open for public -people who would never come [do] because it’s free.”

The Davis Art Center invited Vasin to showcase his work at the gallery. Erie Vitiello, executive director of the Davis Art Center, said that she was struck by Vasin’s unique brand of art.

“We want to show artists and art that haven’t [already] been shown at Davis,” Vitiello said. “We also want to show different media. I thought his work was interesting. Sound and art was something we haven’t done before.”

While he grew up in Moscow, Vasin quickly picked up the brush and began painting at the age of four. He continued to study painting at the Moscow Art College. Though Vasin felt his time in the classroom sapped him of his creativity and limited his artistic voice, he said he knew how to reclaim it.

All the rules [I learned], I had to forget,” he said.

Along with rules, he also left behind his hometown of Moscow.

He branched out to San Francisco with his partner Julia McEvily 10 years ago and found representation from Frey Norris Gallery. Since then, Vasin has attracted a host of attention from galleries like the De Young Museum and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

The four paintings showcased at the Davis Art Center are hallmarks of Vasin’s style – oblong in shape and bright in color. Vasin said that he likes to experiment with shapes never seen before. After he pinpoints his shapes, he outlines his intentions on canvas and fills the white space with colors not typically found in a box of Crayola crayons. To finish his pieces, he laces the exhibition room with original sound befitting his works.

“We slowly experiment music with his art,” McEvily said. “Then we tweak until the image can hold the sound that he likes.”

Vasin said that many of his shapes come from his own dreams, which he tries to interpret from their original amorphous state to a more concrete language.

“I am in a dream state,” Vasin said. “I look for that perfect shape. This can go on for months, even years. When I find the perfect shape, it is something that is not of this world. The shape has not [yet] been conceptualized.”

Even McEvily, Vasin’s partner of 10 years, said that she cannot fully put the art pieces in words. However, she does not try: She simply lets the painting speak for itself.

“They are more visual than conceptual,” McEvily said of Vasin’s art. “[His pieces] put viewers in a different mood, working as a trigger for tuning a person into having a more perceptive viewing experience.”

The reception presenting the live sound installation will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at the Davis Art Center, located at 1919 F St. Vasin’s artwork will be displayed at the Davis Art Center until July 28. For more information, go to davisartcenter.org.


JACKSON YAN can be reached at arts@californiaaggie.com.


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