Irina Rozovsky is a Russian-born American artist
Episode 155: Irina Rozovsky is a Russian-born American artist living in Georgia. She has recently published one of my favorite books of the year thus far with In Plain Air (MACK, 2021).
In Plain Air is a beautiful rumination on Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. There is a halcyon feel to the work that is hard to place. Perhaps it is due to the intimacy of the portraits of the park’s denizens. Perhaps it is the soft sepia palette of the color images that solicits my attention and plays on an idea of photography and memory.The work takes on an amber and honey-drenched palette that gives the park a feeling of golden days, of safety and refuge within New York’s normally bustling image.
Though winter makes the occasional appearance in the book, the season within feels like the eternal and sublime shift between long and lazy late summer days and the oncoming crisp of autumn’s inevitable embrace. You begin to see through the trees; their skeletal reaches providing an uncanny sense of framing to the pleasant strolling of the people found within. There is something about security in these trees even in their pre-winter reduction of form.
Throughout the book you get a sense of Prospect Park and even glimpses of its historical character from its beginnings with Frederick Law Olmstead who provided its landscape details. You begin to feel the importance of the park to the citizens of New York and you can see the neutral public space as one of recreation, relaxation and reprieve. It feels dreamy and yet its utility is exceedingly important.
Irina and I spoke about her background growing up in America to her returns to her native Russia as viewed in past bodies of her work. We spent the majority of our time discussing In Plain Air. It was highly illuminating and it did much to confirm my suspicions of the book’s value and the artist’s incredibly sensitive handling of an important place. Timeless is a word that often feels numbing to use due to its glorified and sentimental associations with the past, but I believe it can extend into something monumental. It implies a certain sensibility that might be unwanted, but I would grant its use with In Plain Air. I do feel it is timeless and monumental and I feel that it is an incredibly important body of work. Please Tune-In and please buy the book.