Elena Urbaitytė was born in 1922 in Šiauliai. She studied at the Art Institute in Kaunas, the Akademie der Bildenden Kümte in Münich, and at the Ecole des Arts et Metiers in Freiburg, West Germany. In 1950, she received a fellowship for one year from the French Ministry of Cultural Affairs in Paris, and from the World Student Service Fund, an academic scholarship in the United States for two years. In 1960, she received an M.A. from T.C. Columbia University in New York.
The year of 1979 marked the beginning of her career as a sculptor. That year, she exhibited her series "Illuminated Constructions" at the Phoenix Gallery in New York City. In 1980, Elena Urbaitytė began working with "Light Bars," a series of geometric aluminum bars that were lit internally and shone through slits and small holes. Her next series, titled "Solar Flights" (1982), was created from aluminium, metal sheets, flourescent lights, string, enamel paint, tape and plexiglass. In 1984, Elena Urbaitytė exhibited her next sculpture series "Messengers" which advanced her concept of "Solar flights" a step further. Originally a painter, Elena Urbaitytė continued exploring the complexity of the merger of sculpture and painting in her 1987 series "Painted Surfaces."
Early works of Elena Urbaitytė were oil paintings which she exhibited in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Paintings dated in the early 60s were influenced by American Abstract Expressionists such as William de Koonnig, Mark Rothko, and others. In these works Elena Urbaitytė stressed the importance of colour and light in her compositions that appeared architectural in concept and execution.
Since her studies in Europe, attention of Elena Urbaitytė was drawn to the art and theory of Paul Cezanne and his followers as well as Russian Constructivists. In the 70s, geometric shapes and parts of the human body were incorporated into architectural compositions m her paintings which created vibrant textured shapes evoking tension pictorially and emotionally.
The year of 1979 marked the beginning of her career as a sculptor. These constructions consisted in the interrelationship of aluminium planes, wood panels, flourescent and neon lights. The angular, illuminated flat cut-outs indicated the artist's emotional involvement with the space age technological advances of the time, producing both "chilling aesthetic ambiguities and multi-dimensional effects."
Kezys, A. (1992). The Paintings and Sculptures of Elena Urbaitis. Lituanus, 38(2);
Urbaitis, E. (2000). Works on paper. Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademijos leidykla;
Lietuvos dailės muziejus. (2011). http://www.ldm.lt;
Goštautas, S. (2006). Elena Urbaitytė. In memoriam. 7md, 698.
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