Is there a modern scenario in Russia that compares to the United States Depression era artist’s leap to the traveling circus? My limited intelligence tells me there is. Lena Ulanova used to post online a new painting nearly every day. Until April, when suddenly she departed cyberspace, and unreasonably, I began to worry. Where did she go? Was she getting sick of the same admirer liking her work day after day? Then Alexey Stepanov mentioned that she had joined the circus for several months. Silence since April until last week. She sent me this painting. Untitled. Unsized. Mysterious as ever. I say it’s a self-portrait. I say I know because I too am also a straight-faced perpetual clown in my mind.
The romantic life of the painter. An oxymoron for 99% of us. Then there is Lena, and her brilliant color of the traveling circus.