The birth of an Image

Issue #4 • 71

Larisa Levteeva,
Art Critic

The creative art of the ceramist and graphic artist – Natalia Osipova is widely known both in our country and abroad.
Her first creative skills Natalia Osipova had acquired at early age. Already in the first year of school she attended the circle “Skilful Hands”. Watching the animals, their habits, she was doing sketches, which then became the basis for the modeling that she did with great enthusiasm. Although with age, many skills and hobbies pass by; this girl had not eventually lost interest in the toys and even had chosen them as the subject of her future profession.
A significant impact on the future artist of ceramics had a meeting with Yakov Frumgarts, who was the head of the renowned studio in 1966, which N. Osipova was attending, when she was in the 8th grade. She thanked her fate that had brought her to such a brilliant teacher, who had a great influence not only on her but on many emerging artists. Following the advice of Y. L. Frumgarts, in 1967, she entered the Department of Artistic Ceramics of the National Art College named after. P. Benkov (nowadays – the National Art College), where a variety of the prominent specialists in their fields were teaching at that time. Muhiddin Rakhimov had instilled a love and respect for pottery clay. His “Artistic Ceramics of Uzbekistan”, which have concentrated and summarized the experience of the creative work of the potters of different art schools and the ceramics-producing centers of Uzbekistan like Tashkent, Rishtan, Gijduvan, Kattakurgan, Shakhrisabz, Khorezm, etc. has become her reference book. Ahat Umarov had taught her to “twist” the products on the potter’s wheel. Drawing and painting she studied under the guidance of Galina Lee. The acquired knowledge and skills Natalia Osipova has later on applied not only in her creative work, but also in teaching.
After graduating from College, N. Osipova continued her studies at the Department of Artistic Ceramics of the Theatre and Art Institute named after A. N. Ostrovsky (presently, the National Institute of Arts and Design named after K. Behzad). She perceived her studying at the Institute as another step to the mastering of artistic skill. After graduating from the Institute in 1978, she worked at the Tashkent Experimental and Creative Workshop of Applied Art, where she began, in fact, her real creative work, and her first piece was “The Shepherd”, comprising the three-dimensional decorative trees, a shepherd with a lamb, and a flock of sheep. Creation of a composition is an integral technological process. First she had to prepare the models to cast a plaster mold, and then to produce the figures. It was already a claim not only for craftsmanship but also for the artistry. This art piece has been acquired by the Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan, and further on, it was included in the exposition of many exhibitions held in Moscow, Ukraine, Georgia and other countries. N. Osipova had made the figures of variety of animals – horses, donkeys, dragons, and mountain sheep – moufflons, elephants, dogs, fish. She was looking for her own texture and styling possibilities. She turned to the sculpturing later on. In-depth familiarity with traditional Samarkand ceramic school of small-scale plastic art has helped the artist to create such interesting compositions as “Tea Party”, “Bread”, “Sleeping Shepherd”, “Spring”, “Flowers”.
Visitors to one of the artist’s exhibitions have praised her work “Smile”, which conveys the image of a girl with two braids laying on her chest and a funny hat on her head, crowned with a bouquet of flowers. Her eyes are semi-closed; her face is lit by a smile. She is serene, self-absorbed, perhaps, recalling the affectionate mother hands or just dreaming about something.
N. Osipova at the exhibitions often demonstrates the sculptural and decorative compositions made of terracotta figurines of people in national costumes, communicating with each other. Everything is harmonious and appropriate in them. It is not so much a toy; rather, it is the interior decoration of the modern home.
N. Osipova repeatedly creates the compositions, main characters of which are people of different age and gender. She does that in an effort to convey some significant situation, the character and mood of other people, their habits, lifestyle, occupation, and dynamics of their movements. Their images are very diverse. Thus, the composition of five terracotta figures – two men and three women – the main figure is notable – a man with a dove in his hands, telling something to others. Here is a baker, and a woman embroidering a skullcap, as well as a woman with a baby in her arms. In another composition a man is offering the hot bread, two other men are playing musical instruments, one is holding two jugs, or a gray-bearded old man presents a bouquet of flowers to a surprised woman. Here is also a young woman leans over the child’s cradle with an old man by her side, who helps her.
Apart of the toys, N. Osipova have created many pieces made according to the traditional ceramic school: lagans (bowls), painted in brown tones of the Tashkent and Shakhrisabz ceramic art schools, small-size terracotta plastics, etc.
Recent exhibitions have demonstrated the graphic works by N. Osipova, who according to the specialists, were done professionally. In particular, one of them called “The Courtyard”, exhibited in the Central Exhibition Hall of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, was acknowledged by the academician V. Burmakin. The painting depicts the courtyard that struck the artist for the abundance and variety of vegetation. This does not mean that Osipova has decided to abandon the mainstream trend of her creative art. The drawing is a school, a means of communication, containing information that Osipova communicates to her audience. Creation and subject of the drawings is the embodiment of two interconnected processes.
N. Osipova also paints the still lives – irises, hydrangeas, tulips. Many of her works are especially dear to her. These are “The Moon-Like”, “Silence”, triptych: “Image”, “Prayer”, “Sevgi”, inspired by the motifs of Oriental poetry; and “Irises”. drawing – “Narzullaev Family” – the artist has devoted to a famous dynasty of ceramists from Gijduvan.
N. Osipova is a good teacher as evidenced by the feedback from many parents whose children learned the basics of drawing from Osipova. She is engaged in the teaching activity for almost 20 years, including the work in the Schoolchildren’s Palace, the National Lyceum of Fine and Applied Arts under the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan, the College of Design (RINOK), Tashkent State Technical University named after Beruni (Department of Design), the school “Sehrio” (“Magic” – private educational institution). Many of the works of her students were displayed at the exhibitions of children’s creativity and were awarded.
N. Osipova is a member of the Creative Association of Artists of Uzbekistan (since 1993); “Hunarmand” Association (since 1997); “Ijod” (since 2010), she is a member of several regional contests – “Tashabbus”, where she has repeatedly won prizes; the national exhibitions (since 1972) and fairs, as well as international exhibitions: EXPO-2000 (Hanover, Germany) , EXPO-2005 (Japan). The works by N. Osipova are in the Museum of Applied Arts of Uzbekistan and the State Museum of Fine Arts of Uzbekistan, as well as in private collections in a number of foreign countries. She was awarded with diplomas of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan “For contribution to the development of the applied art of Uzbekistan” and “The most active graphic artist” (2011).

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