A mountain is not just a mountain when seen through the stylized gaze of Sveta Esser. A hillside, a house, the most ordinary things in the world take on a magical, ethereal, quality that cannot be duplicated. Embracing Esser’s art is like stepping into another world, where, thankfully, someone has already opened the door for us.
Esser’s paintings magnify all the natural colors of the countryside and distills them down to their very essence. The strong primal colors of her minimalist landscapes capture the contrasts of the natural scenery in Israel and Europe, from Germany to Tuscany, radiating the warmth of the land, its fragrances and its unadulterated topography.
Born in Russia in 1975 into a well-to-do family, Esser studed art from an early age just like any girl from a good family. Encouraged by her parents, she studied art at the Yekaterinburg College of Art in the Russian Urals, a place known for its scenic beauty. While attending college, where she earned her first art degree, she met and later married fellow artist Alex Pauker. After graduating, she and Alex began a new life in Israel where they live in an artists’ village in Haifa.
Always in search of new inspiration for their work, they travel the world. On one of these earlier journeys, Esser discovered the beautiful scenery of Europe and there she enrolled in a student exchange program. She remained there for several years until she earned her second art degree. During her studies she also gained experience working as an illustrator and a creative consultant at a publishing house.
Esser says of her work, “The colorfulness of the countryside, the flowers that never stop blooming, and the sunshine all influence my paintings and the colors I decide to use.” Within her work that she creates only with a palette knife, one can detect the influence of Cézanne, himself a palette knife artist, particularly from his later body of work painted in the South of France with its controlled subtle surfaces and increasing use of primary colors, their division and related tones. Esser’s use of color and color tone is a dominant sensation and means of expression in her work, where color temperature corresponds to a mood of both the physical world and the painting.
Working with her palette knife, Esser mixes her colors before she puts them on the canvas. And, depending on the light she is capturing in an individual painting will use oil or acrylic. Using old techniques, her works are nevertheless a symphony of contemporary colors. The moment she starts work on a painting she is lost in its substance. She says, “It doesn’t matter what’s going on around me, I’m so immersed in my work that I don’t hear anything—I’m in my own world.”
Sharing a studio with her husband, she and Alex Pauker critique each other’s work, bringing objectivity into play and taking their paintings to a new level of completion and satisfaction. “There is always an improvement in our work because we always review each other and I see what he should add to his paintings, and he also tells me.” Indeed, their life together as artists and the camaraderie they share in the creative environment of their studio extends itself to their home and family and friends. Their studio is the portal to their home and in Sveta’s words their two children are literally growing up in the studio. “All our life revolves around art.”
Esser’s work can be found in many private collections in Issrael, Europe and the United States, and is exhibited in numerous galleries as well as museums.