TI McWethy

Tatiana McWethy

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The Symbolic Realism of Tatiana McWethy blank
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The infinite complexity of the surrounding world - perceived by Tatiana McWethy as the
work of God and thus unfathomable to human comprehension - serves as a source of
inspiration to the artist and finds its expression in her work through the use of signs and
symbols. Her trompe l’oeil technique allows the artist to demonstrate a splendid mastery by
creating the optical illusion of a three-dimensional space, where the corporeality of
objects - tricking the observer like a child - brings him into a state of playfulness and a
nostalgic return to childhood.
Tatiana does not portray people, but the human presence is always felt: the handwriting
in “David Psalms;” the crumpled-up sheet of paper in “The Old Trunk;” the peeled
pomegranate in “Harvest;” the partially drawn curtain in “Behind the Drape.” This subtle
yet deliberate play within the painting generates an elusive sense of ease and serenity of
being. The material world, presented up-close and so palpably, evokes an innocent
fascination within the observer, who then carries this “childlikeness” into the surrounding
reality. In viewing the works of Tatiana McWethy, the observer enters a state of theatrical
play, where he become a participant. As a logical result, every object on the canvas
becomes an actor and talks to the viewer in its metaphorical language.
The artist - frankly representing the beauty of the surrounding world (the texture of
the tablecloth; the shiny surface of the violin; the translucent rigidity of the grapes; the
flickering candlelight of the lamp) - conceals hidden meaning in allegorical pictographs,
calling to mind the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam’s designation of art as a “refuge of the
spirit.” The grapes symbolize the sacrificial blood of Christ; the light of the lamp—the
annihilation of evil; the nearly spent candle and objects of luxury—symbols of caducity
and vanity. The paintings “Lampada,” “Still-Life with Icon,” and “Harvest” are brimming
with hope that man will forsake the games of hide-and-seek he plays and will return to
God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1).
It is precisely for this reason that depictions of the sacred texts and the
components of a clock mechanism appear on the canvas “David Psalms,” reminding one
of the impermanence of earthly life and the swiftly moving wheel of time - those very
things which inspire Tatiana to produce a fusion of the metaphysical and existential.

Julia Belova, PhD in Art History, Docent of Saint Petersburg Academy of Art, Russia