|Your face I am looking for...|
Mila uses mixed techniques including oil, acrylic, metal, copper, lime stone and granite on wood panels. I found myself drawn to her work that had eyes and loved her use of texture, layers and the color red. I could see the influence of her work in textiles in her paintings.
I wish I had gotten the opportunity to meet her. It took her more than a decade to put the exhibit together and it has been traveling since 2001. Do not pass up the opportunity to see it if it comes your way. I wish I had remembered about it sooner because today was the last day. I spent two hours looking and reading and wish I could go back and look again.
Mila's story is an incredibly moving one. The Russian Revolution shattered her family. Her grandfather was deported to Siberia in 1936, when her father was two years old. Her uncles were taken by the state, separated and scattered across the nation to homes for children of state enemies.
|Gravity of Love|
She had no religious upbringing, but chose to be baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church when she was 18--an act that was illegal at the time.
She was considered a child prodigy. At 15, she left her beloved mother and went to Moscow. She worked her way into textile design and magazine illustration.
She met Jan Lech - an early music specialist and lutenist who had moved into the business side of the arts and they started dreaming of a rural life together. They wanted to start a center where artists and art-lovers could come together, and Jan knew of an area in Sweden. There they started the Scandinavian Art Center.
|On the Way|
So 20 years ago, they left Russia. Her early work in Sweden was all about the natural beauty she saw around her: florals and landscapes, somewhere between realistic and abstract and influenced by her work in textiles. After a few years, her mother was able to come for an extended visit. A few months into the visit, she had a massive stroke and died. Her life changed overnight.
She traveled, looking for answers. In Russian monasteries- opened up by growing political liberalism- she found her answer. "All the art over these last years has been a spiritual journey."