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Nov. 25 Art Minute: Aleksandra Stoyanov, Silence

Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Art Museum, Toledo Museum
Aleksandra Stoyanov (Ukrainian, active Israel, born 1957), Silence. Wool, sisal, silk, cotton, 2006. Purchased with funds given by Georgia Welles Apollo Society members Joseph V. and Judith M. Conda, Bill and Pam Davis, Louise and Greg Gregory, Ann W. Hartmann, Eileen Kennedy and Robert Heim, Jeffery and Inge Klopping, and Mrs. Philip G. Simonds, with additional support from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 2019

The colors found in the landscape of northern Israel inspire the woven tapestry work of Aleksandra (Sasha) Stoyanov, who immigrated there in 1990. She finds the muted palette of gray, brown, black, yellow, green and blue to be far more expressive than brighter alternatives. 

Stoyanov is part of an international movement of fiber arts that has flourished in the second half of the 20th century. Her work often incorporates imagery from the home she left behind in Ukraine, taking on a deeply emotional quality that focuses on the social dilemmas experienced by immigrants, the loss of family, and disconnection. In Silence, she creates a space about personal memories as well as the joining of individual experiences to form collective memory. The empty table is replete with remembrances of the past, but also bursting with the possibility for future gathering, working, conversation.  

Stoyanov makes her own threads before beginning the weaving process. She washes then cards the wool, spins the yarn on a foot-powered spinning wheel, and, finally, dyes the yarn in large batches to her preferred neutral shades.  

This work is currently on view in the exhibition Global Conversations: Art in Dialogue.