This exhibition is striking, especially because of the unusual technique – sea stones, little turtles, colored ropes, fishing nets, and wooden slats are combined in an amazing way and form stunning sculptures, filled with unique harmony and natural character. Iryna Antonova presented her solo exhibition “Ichthyology” in the Crimean Ethnographic Museum. It features 65 art works made by the artist in the past few years. These are sculptures of minor forms and wall panels made in papier-mache technique and incrusted with colored glass and seashells, light delicate compositions of geometry ornaments created with yarn and twine. Antonova lives in Sevastopol that is why the marine theme is especially close to her, she is a painter, graphic artist, decorator, and teacher. In 1976 she graduated from the National University of Arts in Moscow in absentia. Exhibitions of her art works cause great interest among art connoisseurs since 2007.
The organizers of the exhibition emphasize that its name “Ichthyology” has a shade of duality. Fish in here is a means of conveying an image of harmony and semantic completeness of the space, where water, sky, land, and man meet. These art works convey the dynamics and relationship between the components of this space. “Common threads” in the art works woven into clear ribbed panes and openwork screens create the system of images that leads to the matter which lays in the basis of this world. Art critics emphasize that the associative array of Antonova art works is infinitely long, it refers to the childhood memory, the nature of her native land, which irreversibly disappears, the symbols and codes of Christianity. “The author chose the path of revealing the true meaning of things from under the layers of everyday life,” noted the organizers of the exhibition in an annotation to it. “Time of her art works is the time that flies over the Crimea. In a sculpture The Crimean War fragments of broken bottles of English troops (1853–54) were shaped into a fish-boat. In the series of sculptures Farewell to Omega, Sailing Along the Crimean Coast Antonova shares her vision of environmental and cultural issues. The death of the natural landscape of our peninsula, when perennial Crimean geology is under construction and the coast is vaguely fashionable. Limestones with eyes and little windows, nummulites, prints of prehistoric monsters, wrinkles of the earth – these are the things that now can be preserved only in a workshop of an artist and eventually will be a part of his art works.” Interestingly, the new artistic technique, which was discovered by Antonova, was supported by her students, who now actively study it. The artist opened an art studio “Zerniatko” in Simferopol. There along with the basic laws of art Antonova wants to teach children the methods of creative search.