Loyal fans of Oksana Stratiychuk’s works are already familiar to the themes of plants, herbs, vegetables and fruits of all sorts that regularly appear in her art and serve as a likeably immense source of inspiration for Oksana’s graphic pieces. Her first flower bouquets emerge on paper in the late 1990’s. After a while the artist smoothly shifts her focus from mixed compositions of plants, fruits and human bodies towards the genre of floral still life in the mood of the Old Dutch school. The Baroque splendor of her bouquets subsequently changes into a refined elegance of the Japanese gardens. Juicy, almost material, and obtainable flowers and fruits give way to the symbolic plants, artistic generalizations of a flower, designed solely for esthetic and philosophic contemplation.
The herbarium is a metaphor of the generalization process, when a person attempts to learn and classify nature. A plant placed into the herbarium is an example of a particular flower; in fact it is a symbol of a flower, a bodiless model that bears a sum of the most important data. Here is the sword lily: the unbelievable lightness of its tender petals; the dahlia: the sturdy geometry of its inflorescence and abstraction of its leaves; lilies, narcissuses, tulips, roses, primroses... The artist gathers her own herbarium, a detailed profile of each flower that draws her attention not only as an artist, but also as some kind of a botanist from the printmakers guild.
The European city gardens historically descend from the apothecary gardens attached to the monasteries. A garden, as a piece of nature in the middle of the city carefully put in order by men to satisfy esthetic needs, originates from the small cloistral gardens, where plants were grown for practical, medical and scientific purposes. But even before that, these plants were carefully gathered into the herbal catalogues of the enlightened monks. Unconsciously following the historical way of the development of gardening Oksana Stratiychuk finishes her personal collection of plants and then starts to arrange chosen herbs into her dream garden. Flowers are covering the paper sheets in modules, defining the separate segments of this garden. Printed pieces themselves cover the walls turning the room into a wonderful space: the rose corner on the right, near the tulip edge, the olive grove is a little bit on the right, and further — the quiet lake invites to rest in a peaceful garden in the middle of a tired city.