Lyuba Titovets: At Gallery Shoal Creek

Judith Taylor, owner of Gallery Shoal Creek, maintains a wide network of artists, several of them Russian. Lyuba Titovets emigrated from Russia to settle in El Paso, so her landscapes, portraits and figures reflect very dissimilar climates and cultures.

Titovets applies glistening oils thickly to her florals and smaller landscapes, while her narrative scenes — a Russian village scene, children emerging from a field of rye — keep the paint close to the canvas. She calmly manipulates effects such as light through clouds, sponge-shaped trees and reflections on snow, but the faces on her figures appear cartoonish, sentimental I prefer the dark stabbings found in her smaller views of the Colorado mountains, or the vertical brushings in “Spring Breeze.”

Russian art has flooded the American market, much of it from warehouses full of official Soviet art. Yet Titovets exceeds her identity as an emigre. Hers is personal style and her reflections of the arid mountains are particularly fresh.

— Michael Barnes, Austin American Statesman