Two Artists Find "A Fresh Voice" in a New Land

Sergei Orgunov, The Beauty of Paradise, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40, 2017

By Anna Miller, “In a state of grace, the soul is like a well of limpid water, from which flow streams of clearest crystal.” Saint Teresa of Aviles

article by Nancy Felton

During Advent 2017, our congregation is encouraged to look for “Life in Unexpected Places,” guided by Dr. Kyle Reese’s sermons and accompanying Scripture readings. In hopes of stimulating new ways of seeing familiar surroundings, Art Ministry is pleased to bring two gifted artists, Sergei Orgunov and Anna Miller, to HAB. The painting exhibit, opening Wednesday, December 6, at 6:00 with a reception in the Transitional Gallery in the narthex, is entitled “A Fresh Voice for a New Land.” As artists, Sergei and Anna represent two very different approaches for viewing our natural world from the specific perspective of Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

Both artists stand in reverence of the sheer beauty and complexity of nature, but they speak through distinct visual languages to the viewer. In Anna Miller’s abstract series, Refractions, the subject is absent, but unlimited variations of line and color fill the canvas. She is fascinated with the phenomenon of refracted light—a process where “light is deflected while passing obliquely through one medium” to another. “During the process of painting I get lost in meditation of color and lines of refractions and its limitless possibilities.”

Sergei Orgunov is drawn to the intricate detail and endless variety in the plant and animal kingdom, to both majestic and mysterious landscapes. He uses focused light to showcase textures, hues, and moods of nature in startling realism. In contrast, Anna looks within or beneath the image to break down vision into its many components. Although Sergei and Anna did not meet until they both moved to Jacksonville, their individual lives followed similar trajectories in their native homeland, Ukraine. Both were born in Kiev and began studying art at a young age, culminating in earning degrees in art from Russian universities. Each emigrated from Ukraine to the U.S. as young adults, and worked tirelessly to establish a livelihood using their ample skills as visual artists. Anna followed a multi-media path, becoming certified as a digital designer. She now teaches in UNF’s School of Communications to support her passion—painting. She earned her MFA in painting from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, and has taught painting and drawing in community colleges. Sergei has painted over 400 murals in residential and commercial spaces since his 1992 immigration to the U.S. During 2017 alone, he won first place in a National Wildlife competition and was awarded Best of Show in three regional art festivals as well.