Oksana Prokopenko: Icons and More

30 04 2010

After waiting, planning, working, praying,the much anticipated art exhibit is almost here: my one person art exhibit-

Oksana Prokopenko: Icons and More

– is three weeks away tonight. Here is my gorgeous postcard invitation, if you’d like to receive one – send me an email and I’ll be sure to get one over to you!

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Oksana Prokopenko: Icons and More


Memories – Oksana Prokopenko

11 11 2009


The Image Not Made By Human Hand

The Image Not Made By Human Hand




I got this photo yesterday and it brought a wave of emotions and memories. This is the first icon that I made in glass. This is the one that got it all started. I carried this image in my mind for years.
It’s a very strong icon, strength being a spiritual quality primarily, and aesthetic one when it come to icons.

I remember being taken over by something larger than life itself from the very start. The only way to describe the creative process that was happening is to call it mystical: time expanded and stopped, eternity took over, glass seamlessly flowed into place, all the while I existed in a state of profound peace.

When it was done, my husband and other practical voices around me strongly advised me to put a price tag on it and put it out on the market. Instead, again in that same state of peace and quiet, I brought it to a friend’s house-a friend who happened to be an Augustinian priest. His house was filled with monks and nuns that day, something was celebrated when they looked at it, their faces changed and there was quiet in the room. My husband knew what I had known from the start-this was not for sale, neither was is for keeps.

The icon now is the sole image in the office of that priest, who is now the Head of the Augustinian Order of the Eastern Hemisphere, in Villanova, PA. Everyone walking into his office sees it. He told me, ” I sit them in front of it, and leave them for a few minutes alone, and half of their problems go away. ” Those that do not, acquire a different taste, a different perspective.

I sometimes get asked, why did I let that one, the first one go, without even taking a picture? Well, not taking a picture was silly, I agree but letting it go was not. It was an act of reciprocity, what I received – I shared. And in giving it away- I came alive, and continued on creating, or as iconographers say — co-creating.

The icons travel. Sometimes, when there is a place for an icon out there, and in a strange mystical way, spirit (what they call inspiration in the art world) finds an iconographer somewhere and besieges him to create. And create he does, not knowing where the icon will go, not knowing why. But trusting, trusting fully, listening, following on the subtlest of hints, and then letting go.

The Journey – One Photo At A Time – Oksana Prokopenko

31 10 2008
Annunciation, detail

Annunciation, detail

After a long period of contemplation I am returning to the iconography. Every time I finish a piece (an icon), I think it is my last- I talk of quitting, I go into months-long withdrawal and recharging period. Then I emerge, incredulous, disbelieving, to face a new piece.

So it is right now:

The new icon – Annunciation- has been chosen. It is completed, whole, radiant, on a level just beyond the human eyesight. Now comes the ‘fun’ part- I have to put it into physical reality, piece by piece, shard by shard, prayer by prayer. Yet after taking such a long break I forgot about all the ‘non-fun’ little things that accompany any project. Suddenly, I feel like I fell out of the contemplation cloud to face the harsh reality of little decisions that just seem too hard.

This is where my recent ‘artwork as a baby’ approach seems to come handy. The last icon I worked on, Archangels, I took photos throughout the various stages of the work. It was like taking pictures of an ever changing baby, you know, the first year they seem to change daily. (Granted, Archangels took me almost a year to complete.) And even though we seem to take fewer photos as kids grow older, the pictures become a real treasure some 10-15 years later!

All those photos now serve as a reminder of what the piece (and I) went through, all the ups and downs, decision making. It’s helpful, when in the midst of a new piece, to be reminded that it is a process, and it is about the process. Won’t you say the same is true about life?