International artist to exhibit video installation works at Brandstater
Nov. 1, 2012
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Snezana Petrovic, a native of the former Yugoslavia and an award-winning multi-media artist will bring to La Sierra University’s Brandstater Gallery a show that fuses video sculptural installation, language, sound exploration and recycling.
Petrovic’s exhibit titled “ARTchemy” represents an art laboratory of sorts through which the artist examines dislocation and reconnection with her present, past and bilingual histories, a place “where memory, disconnectedness, grief and life itself undergo purification, healing and rejuvenation,” Petrovic says in her artist’s statement. She has dedicated the ARTchemy exhibit to the memory of her father, Zivota, an engineer who supported her artistic dreams and endeavors. “My dad was not an artist, but because of his love for me he learned to appreciate and enjoy it,” Petrovic said. “Regardless of his plans and hopes for me, he let me be who I wanted to be. This body of work is my contemplation on life, love, and interconnectedness.”
ARTchemy will be on display at Brandstater Gallery Nov. 12 – Dec. 12. An opening reception will be held Nov. 12, 6 – 8 p.m. Gallery hours are Mon. – Thurs., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sun., 2 – 5 p.m. Admission is free. The gallery is located at the Visual Art Center 112, Building 1. For further information call 951-785-2170. La Sierra University is located at 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside.
The ARTchemy exhibit experiments with llama hair, white felt, yarn, newspaper and other elements and challenges a long history of women’s self-expression through the crafts. Sound-scape within suspended sculptures in ARTchemy is created in collaboration with composer Mark Dennis McConnell, a music professor at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa where Petrovic also teaches as a professor of art.
Petrovic is a 2D, 3D and 4D artist, collaborator, independent curator and educator. Her paintings, video and installation works have been exhibited in Los Angeles, Singapore, Amsterdam, Belgrade and Prague. Her group and solo exhibition venues have included the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Donna Contemporary Gallery at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles.
In addition to her visual art practice, Petrovic has worked in production and costume design for more than 200 theatrical productions, for 22 television series and eight feature films including “The Magic Snowman” (1987) featuring Roger Moore as the voice of the snowman. Her awards include recognition as the first woman in Yugoslavia to receive the production design award for the International Film Festival in Pula/Golden Arena Award for the feature film “Harms Case” (1988). The city of Pula is situated in the Republic of Croatia, a region previously part of Yugoslavia prior to the 1991 Yugoslav Wars. Petrovic also received six national awards for theater set and costume design in Yugoslavia and is recipient of the LA Stage Alliance 2010 Ovation Awards prize for costume design for the independently produced opera “Song and Dances of Imaginary Lands.”
Petrovic has also taught at California State University, Los Angeles and at the University of Redlands. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Belgrade University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Irvine. In Yugoslavia in 1980, Petrovic began creating digital backgrounds for videos. The process involved a giant computer and could take a week of effort to complete the work. Similar digital background projects now take two hours using Adobe Photoshop with much higher quality imagery, she said. “It seems I was always challenging myself with experimentation in new media, even though I have received the most traditional training in paint and design,” Petrovic said.
Petrovic together with her husband and her son immigrated to the United States in 1991 from Belgrade, Yugoslavia as war broke out. The region is now the country of Serbia. The family, who are now U.S. citizens, traveled to Redlands, Calif. where Petrovic’s husband had accepted a job at GIS mapping software firm Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc., or Esri.
Petrovic grew up the only child of parents who were engineers. They wanted their daughter to become a doctor. But Petrovic spent her childhood in imaginary worlds brought to life through painting, drawing, singing, and telling stories. She wanted to be an artist. “I had to struggle to persuade my parents to support me and my choice to follow my heart,” she said. At age 18 Petrovic applied to the University of Belgrade, Academy of Applied Arts where only four of 500 applicants would be selected. The entrance exam was a wrenching six-day ordeal that included four days of studio work on assigned projects. Petrovic landed at the top of the list of accepted students. “I never did any other work after that but visual arts,” she said. “My teaching is an extension of this life-long choice.”