"Rododendron Garden" by Ilya Schar, Genuine Gems on Wood Panel
30" x 27"
Genuine Gems on Wood Panel (Ruby, opal, citrine, green tourmaline, wulfenite, chrysoprase, peridot, prehnite, sapphire, obsidian, budstone on wood)
Nature is like a very old and wise colleague and a partner by whom I learn to create.Instructor, mentor, tutor, advisor, these are the roles of nature.My challenge is to let nature pass through my eye, my heart, my soul, and my hand, to reinterpret her in a new way that no one has ever done before. There is no new imagery in nature.There are only new ways of interpretation. When I am in the process of creating a painting or remembering what I have seen, I feel like I am having a conversation with nature.
For some people, diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and rubies are symbols of power and wealth.But for me the values of these stones are not material, but artistic.My paintings are items of luxury because they carry artistic beauty, health, and education as well as a sense of nature’s abundant power. From ancient times stones have preserved the mysteries of nature.Stones enchant; magic and healing powers are accredited to them. I’ve always wanted to show the world that gemstones are not just for jewelry. For me a stone is a living thing.They visit me in my dreams. This is my world, made from precious fragments of gems. Like insects trapped in the heart of amber I suspend my thoughts in these delicate compositions for later generations to see.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Los Angeles based artist. Born in 1945. He learned how to draw from his mother, who was an art teacher and helped him to become an excellent draftsman. In his youth Ilya would often visit art galleries and museums where he developed an appreciation for painting and took art classes.
As a boy, he was fascinated by the discovery of a piece of amber lying on the beach of the Baltic Sea, having insects inside. “Within that stone” he said, “I saw a moment frozen in time for millions of years”. It was a life changing experience. From that moment on, Ilya wanted to know what mysteries lay hidden in the hearts of every stone. Thus began his lifelong obsession with stones. Where ever he went, he collected sea shells, gems, and even ordinary rocks to break apart and examine. His fascination for gems grew, so did his gem and mineral collection. He became a dental surgeon after graduating from Medical Dental University, but the love for stones eventually ignited an artistic passion.
Coming home from work, Ilya would experiment with stones from his collection by gluing them into small compositions on wood. Tweezers, dental pics, hooks, probes, and scalpels were all employed in his adept hands. Soon Ilya began creating works on a larger scale.
During his early experiments crushing stones, Ilya Schar made an astonishing discovery. He found that certain gems would change color when ground into powder. Black Agate, for example, becomes red when ground. Rhodonite, a rose colored stone, becomes grey when crushed. Black Onyx becomes red, black Sphalerite becomes brown, and green Calcite becomes white.He was fascinated with the stones color potential and this discovery gave him the idea to paint using pigment from the stones instead of oil colors. The city of Bremen in Germany, where the artist lived at the time, even funded a patent for Ilya and published his findings on the color properties of crushed gems. What began as a hobby turned into passion, as well as, an artistic quest.
Ilya Schar moved from Germany to California in 1999 where he began creatingand exhibiting his work full time after retiring from his career as an oral surgeon.
His artwork is created solely using precious and semi-precious gemstones and minerals applied to wooden panels. Crushing and polishing the stones by hand, he reveals the brilliant colors hidden within. No paint is used in his two/three-dimensional compositions. Each of his works contains hundreds of different types of gems, ranging in size from a bean to a grain of sand.
Ilya doesn’t make a record of all the ingredients for each painting, especially as many are ground into a mineral pulver. To achieve the proper color, he lays a layer of translucent powder of stone the consistency of makeup powder to get the feel. He also uses his powders to fill the spaces between the big stones and cover the wooden surface.
“In our moment of history, the painter who grinds his own pigment from minerals is making a gesture of self-definition. It is a gesture of dissent from mass-production, as is painting altogether. And one of Schar’s greatest strengths is his independence and power as a colorist”. “Last Chance: Ilya Schar’s Mortal Colors“by Jamey Hecht, New York Arts Magazine, July/August 2004, Vol.9 No7/8
In the two times that a worldwide search had been performed (once in 1998 by a Patent Bureau in Munich, Germany and another time in 2003 by the Gemological Institute of America in Carlsbad, CA) it has been established that no similar work has ever been created or done by another artist.
"I've always wanted to show that gemstones are not just for jewelry," states Schar, "Their wonderful colors can be used for many other purposes, which I've tried to demonstrate through my art."
Unlike an oil painting that can be reworked, Ilya’s materials are unforgiving; once a stone is affixed, it cannot be removed. The process of selecting and preparing the stones is painstaking and each painting can take months to complete.
The glue is a special epoxy mixture which Ilya created and has been using for over 40 years. It is designed to withstand temperature from -148Fto +212F ( -100C to +100C) and extreme changes in humidity.
The pieces of art he makes carry health. It is said that the stones absorb illness and activate the healing process and recovery.
Ilya Schar’spaintings are items of luxury because they carry artistic beauty, health, and education as well as a sense of nature’s abundant power.
Among others Ilya Schar has exhibited his artwork at prestigious venues such as;
The New York Armory Show
The Los Angeles Natural History Museum
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
The Lizzadro Museum Elmhurst, Illinois
Brazilian Academy of Arts and Culture, Sao Paulo
Salon 2010 de la Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts Carrousel du Louvre Paris, France Annual Los Angeles Art Show, Convention Center
Los Angeles Municipal Gallery
Digital Billboard 9039 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood