Biography

Serena Kovalosky at her Montreal studio (1999)
Serena Kovalosky at her Montreal studio (1999). Photo credit: mclaughlinphoto.com

Serena Kovalosky’s sculptural work explores the interconnectivity of the natural world. Her multicultural roots as a first-generation American of Polish and Quebecois heritage, combined with years of national and international travel while living in Canada, France and the United States, provide a diversity of influences and creative processes that are distilled into her art.

A collection of carved gourd lacquerware from Olinala, Mexico prompted Kovalosky’s consideration of the use of gourds as a sculptural material. The sculptural approach of carving is deep in her ancestral roots: her great-uncle Laurent Desaulniers was a Quebecois woodcarver whose work is in the New York Heritage Digital Collection.

Kovalosky received a BA degree summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Potsdam. Moving to Montreal, she began exploring a variety of artistic mediums and techniques through mentorships with professional artists. She studied drawing and art history with personal mentor Roger Richard, artist and former art teacher at Baron Byng in Montreal and traveled to London, England to learn advanced techniques of gilding with gold. Her explorations into movement, posture and alignment with Franco-Congolese choreographer Zab Maboungou furthered her research into creating visceral movement in the sculptural form. She was introduced to photography through her father, a professional photographer, and has used photography throughout her sculptural career to expand and document her artistic research.

Experiential training in transpersonal psychology with Frederic Hurteau introduced Kovalosky to Native American teachings, which were further explored through Lynn Andrews’ Council of the Whistling Elk. She assisted in the construction of a sacred lodge in the Cree tradition with shaman Michael Taylor and spent a 36-hour sleepless vigil tending the sacred fire with Abenaki firekeeper Rick Hunt for a written documentary on firekeeping in the Abenaki tradition.

Kovalosky lived and worked in an artist’s loft at the Complexe du Canal Lachine, one of the first creative ecosystems of its kind in Montreal’s St. Henri district which was a “SoHo” for artists who occupied former factories along the canal. Developers became attracted to the area in the early 2000s and despite organized resistance led by Kovalosky and other artists, many of the buildings became high-end condominiums, forcing artists to find living space and studios elsewhere. Kovalosky moved back to her family homestead in rural northeastern New York, immersing her creative psyche into the influences from her rural upbringing which forged the current path for her art.

Serena Kovalosky’s work has been exhibited at the Hyde Collection, Slate Valley Museum, Georgi Museum, McGill University, Just for Laughs Museum and with the New York Farm Bureau, Grassland Bird Trust and the Agricultural Stewardship Association. Riverbowl III was acquired by The Folklife Center at Crandall Library and her work is in many private collections. She is the recipient of a Decentralization Grant by the New York State Council on the Arts. Her art and creative philosophy have been featured in Adirondack Life, The Collaborative, Artscope, Professional Artist and she has appeared on Joe Donahue’s Roundtable on WAMC, CBC Radio-Canada, Canada’s Life Channel and Quebec’s Canal Vie. Her work and creative process were featured in a film short for the series, Battenkill Inspired by The Folklife Center at Crandall Library.

Kovalosky is also a writer, curator, cultural project developer and filmmaker. She is the original co-founder of the Open Studios of Washington County Biennial and is the founder and creative force behind Artful Vagabond Productions whose online magazine and forthcoming film encourage society to “Listen to the Artists.” She has interviewed David Bowie’s ex-wife, Angie Bowie and was a guest on her podcast, The Angie Bowie Barnett Show. As a curator and writer, Kovalosky was invited to the Yukon for a tour of seventeen artists’ studios, resulting in an all-Yukon edition of the international digital art magazine, ACS Magazine.

Serena Kovalosky has been transforming her upstate New York homestead into a live-in studio and creative laboratory. The property surrounding her home are becoming eco-gardens for her studies in nature and biodiversity which will further her sculptural explorations.