AUBURN – American-born Suzanne Scherer and Russian-born Pavel Ouporov are an artist team who met in Moscow in 1989 as students at the esteemed Moscow Surikov State Academic Art Institute. An exhibition of their works, “As Above, So Below: Recent Work by Scherer and Ouporov,” is on display at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University through Nov. 27.
Scherer and Ouporov have received international recognition for their collaborative works encompassing painting, photography, video and installation that draws on medieval icon painting, Russian art history and literature. Their works are exhibited and included in many public collections internationally including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, Harvard University Fogg Art Museum and The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
“As Above, So Below” includes a large-scale video installation in addition to egg tempera paintings, silverpoint drawings, etchings and photographs. A fully illustrated hard cover catalogue accompanies the exhibition and is available for purchase in the museum shop.
An intriguing aspect of the couple’s work is their intensely close process of collaboration in which they combine personal and cultural histories as well as concepts. The artists say that as a bilingual couple, American and Russian, they often search for connections and common roots of their two diverse languages and incorporate literature, poetry and text into their works.
“As above, So Below” is an ancient saying used in one of Scherer and Ouporov’s paintings as well as for the title of the exhibition. It reflects an ancient Greek Neo-Platonic way of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale, or universe-level, all the way down to the smallest scale. Heaven and earth, or more generally spirit and matter, are one of the many dichotomies found in the couple’s work.
Scherer received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Florida State University and her master of fine arts degree from Brooklyn College. Ouporov received his bachelor of fine arts degree from the Moscow Art School and his master of fine arts degree from the Surikov Academy of Art.
The museum will host a special fall opening reception on Sept. 24 from 6-9 p.m. featuring an artists’ talk by Scherer and Ouporov. The talk and following reception are free and open to the public.
For more information about the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, go to www.jcsm.auburn.edu.
(Contributed by Colleen Bourdeau.)