«Jewish Observer»
June 2002
5762 Tammuz

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Irina Ratner is a famous in Zhytomir painter, who works in the sphere of small plastics, and successful pedagogue. For over 25 years she heads a studio of ceramics she created herself. Works of Irina's pupils are often exhibited in the city and at All-Ukrainian exhibitions. But most important is that during all these years she brings up in her pupils an ability to learn the world. Besides, almost two years she works at the Jewish charitable center "Hessed Shlomo". Irina heads a ceramics studio - she teaches ancient plastic art to Jewish children.

Her way in the art was not all roses. She calls herself a "day-off" a painter combining art with work during her whole life. To lead studios of ceramics in the city with no china and ceramics' plants means to be not only a teacher and painter, but also administrator and worker simultaneously. She herself has to get clay to study new technologies. Until now she experiences a child's feeling of exultation touching a soft plastic material, admires the very opportunity to create something new.

She perceives the world as a sculptor - through from, space, expressiveness. Irina creates a new reality out of clay perceptibly and, at the same time, adjusts space and form through an exact mathematic calculation.

To write about her works is not easy. Main traits of Irina's style are associativity, symbolism free work with space and voids as one of the most important means of expression - both sense and plastic. Her works are of many senses, devoid of anatomic concreteness. Unnecessary details fall out of use. The author uses only what is needed to convey her thought. Her works demand long contemplation, and understanding arrives as a strike. A spectator should, as a painter himself, commit a creative act. Ratner often solves monumental plastic and content tasks in small plastic forms. Everything is done easily and naturally, with a big share of play, irony and even sarcasm. Her purpose is not to beautify a daily life but to philosophically interpret herself, her life and the world on the whole. She aspires to express through art even her life's circumstances. The matter is a painter's problems never remain his own, private ones. Probably, the more significant the personality is, the higher the level of his identifying with the surrounding world is. In general, Irina Ratner is more attracted not towards a genre art, which is, as a rule, characteristic of small forms' plastic, but towards a dramatic art, not to a subject's outline but to its inner essence. Stiffened images become self-sufficient, as if torn away from the author. Themes develop creating their own reality and dramatic art. Ratner has recently touched upon a Jewish theme - masks of prophets, Moisei, Ester, candlesticks, subjects of Jewish feasts, dancing Jews, cantors... The painter dedicates much attention to bitter irony she considers a typically Jewish beginning.

Irina Ratner's art is an extraordinary phenomenon. She herself is one of a few women whose life is wholly devoted to art. Muses are not indifferent to her. An art connoisseur will not regret entering her plastic, full of mysterious symbolism world.


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© 2002 Jewish Confederation of Ukraine - www.jewukr.org