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Ocean Surface and more art by Vija Celmins

Ocean Surface , 1985
19 x 24 cm (h x w)
Drypoint on paper
not for sale
[Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections; Gift of the Des Moines Art Center Print Club 1987.4]

(Gift Print, 1987)

Vija Celmins’s drypoint captures the dark shadows and reflected light of each wave, making this hand-drawn print seem photographic. Her image is a trance-like meditation upon the barely articulated ocean. Her works are usually small in format, but their subject matter is vast. Stars, sand, and, as in this case, the ocean are constant themes for the artist, and all are part of the environment of her Venice Beach home. Working from photographs, her images capture the detail of an exact moment in the constant flux of the ocean. This differs from the traditional, Romantic view of nature, where human perception is dwarfed by the grandeur of natural phenomena. Here, the movement of the ocean is frozen, allowing the artist and viewer to rest on every facet of the water’s surface. Celmins does not include a horizon or shoreline, suggesting the endless quality of the sea.



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