From Russia With Love

Russian-born, American artist Alexander Kaletski found paradise in the United States in more ways than one.
Alexander Kaletski is known for using cardboard as canvas, sometimes taking taglines on a box like the one shown here and incorporating them into his paintings. This cardboard piece is entitled “Bon Voyage.” - © ALEXANDER KALETSKI, COURTESY Anna Zorina Gallery, New York City

Vero Beach has been likened to paradise before, but not like this. On Saturday, November 22 local photographer Hilary Bonbright Mullarkey will open her studio with “Cardboard Paradise,” an exhibit by Russian-born, American artist Alexander Kaletski, best known for using cardboard as canvas, celebrating the human condition on labeled and unlabeled boxes in a style sometimes reminiscent of Picasso.

“His paintings have so much personality – I just fell in love with them the first time I saw them,” says Hilary, who has two cardboard “Kaletskis” hanging in her home and one canvas at her studio.

While Hilary was already familiar with Kaletski’s work, the two didn’t meet until her sister had a chance encounter with him at a frame store in Manhattan. Her sister told Kaletski that Hilary was a photographer; and when Hilary contacted him, she asked if she could photograph him at his studio. Soon after, Hilary commissioned him to create a cardboard painting of her stepdaughter, Coco Vandeweghe, a world-class tennis player. To capture the athlete’s essence, Kaletski painted her playing tennis on an oversized Coco Chanel box, incorporating her famous name into her portrait. 

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