Born in Dusetos, 1957.
Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, painting, 1975 – 1981
Since 1988 member of Lithuanian Artists Association.
by Sigitas Parulskis
Greece boasts horse-size aloe plants. At least on the Rhode Island, on steep rocky slopes, perpetually washed by salty waters of the Aegean Sea, these creatures with thick fleshy sleeves of their leaves grow so huge that look more animals than plants, and upon upproaching one, you become uneasy they might kick you. By the way, I was badly bitten by one of their lot when I tried to carve a female name in the green flesh of its leaf. The aloe thorn found my finger and shamelessly ripped it through. Upon observing oneself wounded or badly bleeding, any person has to rush to some protective measures, e.g., one is expected to immediately produce a justification of such an intimidating phenomenon as bleeding, to turn civilized such nature’s asault against himself. In failure to do so, he will be overwhelmed by the animal instict of self-preservation, start running around like a chicken with his head cut off and eventually will burst into self-pity tears, discrediting himself as a product of civilization.
Thus Nomeda saved me from such coersion by nature: while contemplating red blood dripping slowly upon an aloe leaf, the green color of which gave it a slightly artificial look, I got the feeling of being shielded from the natural world by the paintings of Nomeda, particularly those in which enter the battle the colours red and green. I have phrased it as "enter the battle", because the aloe plants of Nomeda (similarly to that Greek parasite plant), due to their plastic quality, are more animal-like than of the vegetation world. This is probably prompted by them being uprooted, that is, crawling and creeping, committed to flat surface instead of growing vertically. Of course, this in no way is intended to mean that an artist who paints "upright trees" is closer to heaven as compared to the one who loves walking more down to the earth. This impression may be created by the mere usage of red. I am not ultimately convinced, as my concept of "colourism" is intuitive, at best, and I have difficulty in expressing my feel for the colour verbally. Yet anyway, my psychic balance challenged at the sight of my own blood, was restored due to the paintings of Nomeda, even more, my psychological wound was "dressed" by her canvases.
To write or, that means, to speak publicly about your friends is always unbecoming. If your friends are artists, you are running even a greater risk to appear impudent. To establish a safe distance under such circumstances it is inevitable to resort to irony and stylization, blended with cynicism (or kynicism). It will help you to avoid being too open-hearted and harming your mutual relationship or earning the reputation of a flattering cretin. Being open-hearted is dangerous in two aspects: you do not wish the reputation of a talkative friend who spreads gossip no matter how benevolent his intentions are; yet you also want to avoid the threat of an excessive adoration which is commonly, if not nicely, referred to as "ass-kissing". So there is no easy way for me to talk of Nomeda and the ambiguity of her situation, as her fate had played a trick on her by making her an artist and an artist‘s wife simultaneously. She is the wife of such an artist, whose shadow would fade a cactus, let alone an aloe plant.
Yet irony does not fit in speaking of Nomeda. Her, an artist‘s, shape, if I may put this way, does not invoke ironic imagery. Semantically her figure relates more with the image of the wife and mother, the woman busy witchcrafting in the kitchen, feeding or nursing the children. It is difficult to find an artist‘s image in Nomeda, what is deceptive to many, who normally expect an artist to be "artistic" (it is almost impossible to picture a contemporary artist whose expression is devoid of irony, sarcasm, megalomania, and marasmus). I do not think, that Nomeda intentionally skips off any artistic image: having no image for her is as natural as for other people is being unable to strip it off .
In the exhibition at the Maldis Gallery some viewers mistakingly took the paintings of Nomeda for Šarūnas’ work. I am convinced this had been caused less by stylistic similarity (of which there is none, at least on the formal level), than by force of habit, preventing people from admitting the fact of having encountered two artists of equal talent in one family. I have almost no doubt that art critics are also biased and tend to belittle Nomeda: she is the one to be sacrificed or obscured by Šarūnas’ work. No matter how much men hate to admit it, they often dominate over their females when we talk artistic endeavor in particular: not only due to their more pronounced egoism, but also to their lesser resistance to such trials as torturing by family, daily chores, and other instruments of the mundane life inquisition. In this respect Nomeda challenges even feminist theories, as without any public declaration, she has replaced the cursed triad "Kinder, Küche, Kirche" by the trinity "Woman, Mother, Artist".
As a friend of both Nomeda and Šarūnas, I cannot - nor do I wish - to talk of their duo, or otherwise, about the male and female origins of their artistic activity, which is being nurtured - no matter how hard that would be avoided, - under the same roof. So it is not devoid of some creative tension, at least on the subconscious level. We may as well frame the stylistic expression of each of them into the concept of polarity and the exile of absolute antinomy, however… It is most probably not accidental that Šarūnas keeps repeating that he would not be able to paint (this does not mean that he is incapable of painting it) the favorite subject of Nomeda, which, by generalization, I may as well risk calling "vegetation" (though the word "herbs" would sound so much nicer).
A male is too much distanced to the world of plants, he is separated by the barrier of concept, purpose, function (Šarūnas mostly employs vegetation for decorative purpose contrasting it to his civilized "flesh"). In the paintings by Nomeda this barrier is overcome by the vital mother-like relationship to the world characterized by raising, nurturing, protecting. Even children in her paintings remind more of plants than of human beings, yet a subtle paradox in the canvases of Nomeda is - referring to our earlier statement - that her vegetation has got "animal" nature.
Occasionally, on those rare visits at their place, I give in to temptation and, before waiting for a permission, I pop my head into her "workshop" - a tiny loft room. It is also possible that her partiality to small scale paintings is determined by the confined space of her work area. The only more spacious room in an ancient wooden house surrounded by lilac bushes and apple trees is used by Šarūnas to paint his large scale paintings; it is also the family‘s "drawing room". I feel some sacrilegious in the loft of Nomeda: it is always trimmed up with bundles of dried herbs, like a church after an annual religious feast. It reminds some of the Penelope‘s abode (a painting that is never ended is perched on the chair, yet downstairs Odysseus has sailed off into the waters of a huge canvas), some of the cell of St Teresa (the process of painting fading, drying and crumbling herbs relates with nursing, sympathy and even of prayer: somebody has to atone for the corruption of human nature, looming ominously in Šarūnas‘ paintings).
Upon asked on how he would like to pass away, the French thinker G.Thibon replied that he would want to go as a ripe olive fruit, yet he predicted that he would leave this world as an uprooted plant: he had loved the earth too much to leave it without pain.
I am also well aware that I will have the choice of the two, and that the second option will pick me. Yet I cherish the secret hope that if I am to go like an uprooted plant, let it be the aloe plant painted by Nomeda.