In the paintings of Russian-born artist Ilya Zomb, images of ballerinas, elephants, and gigantic fruits appear as if out of a dream, but the artist says it’s the everyday life in New York, where he lives, that inspires his flights of fancy.
Occupying the shadowy space “between the possible and impossible, the real and unreal,” Ilya Zomb’s brilliantly conceived, chimerical paintings lie at the elusive intersection of reality and pure fantasy. They are reminiscent of such diverse masters as Botticelli, Degas, and Magritte ‘ but perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of this Russian artist’s work is that, despite myriad tempting comparisons, it remains curiously unique.
Zomb’s images can be incredibly theatrical, recalling the dream sequences often found in productions of dance, or the nature-defying feats of circus performers. At other times the scenes have a mythical, literary feel, and we can easily imagine them as sumptuous illustrations for a lost book of parables penned by the likes of Scheherazade. An intensely perceptive artist, Zomb never fails to account for the contradictory emotions provoked by the uncertainty of reality. His works are dynamic with an air of celebration, of a spectacular and opulent grand finale, while other pieces of his are poignant and meditative as a still pool.