Robert Hagan was born in Murwillumbah, NSW Australia. He graduated from University with an Arts degree in Economics and a Diploma in Education. His first exhibition was at the Woollahra Galleries in 1974, which Hagan claims was "largely unsuccessful, but nevertheless encouraging." He spent much of his twenties wandering and painting, teaching intermittently, and eventually teaching himself how to paint. After three years of this painstaking self-teaching and over-thinking, Hagan claims he had a breakthrough on the beach: the simplicity of nature led him to the revelation that he needed but a few colors to capture its brilliance. His painting career thus began at the beach, where he painted every variety of seaside life for two years.From 1980 to 1988, Hagan held numerous successful exhibitions in Australia. Hagan moved to San Diego in 1991 to paint the America’s Cup battle and published his second book of Australian paintings. Cherished Moments, his book of paintings and prose celebrating women and children, was published and in 1998 Hagan returned to Australia in 1998 with his children.
Steve Kaufman was born in 1960 in the Bronx, New York, the middle child, surrounded by an extended family, many of whom were painters and sculptors that were a significant influence on him and his views on art. His father died when he was four years old. His mother painted high fashion oils on canvas, and he was taught sculpting by his uncles. Kaufman commented on his family, "They taught me that to be an artist is to be always changing. So I tried all different forms of art and today I have 15 different styles that I work in. Art should always be about changing. A lot of artists will work in one medium their whole career, but I didn't want to every get bored. I was taught that canvas is not the only thing to paint on." Kaufman had his first show at age eight, at a Jewish Temple in the Bronx.At the age of 8, he was sponsored by a synagogue and held his first one-man art show at a Bronx bank, presenting images that were later donated to the Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Brooklyn, New York.In 1975, Kaufman participated in a group graffiti art show at the prestigious Whitney Museum of American Art.The young Kaufman, having been tutored by an architect friend, projected his grandfather's images of The Holocaust on rounds of wood cut from trees, the tree rings symbolizing the passing of years. He practiced, he worked, he became very excited about the times in which he lived. By the age of 12, he was working at Macy'sDepartment Store on 34th Street in Manhattan, painting customized faces on Pet Rocks purchased by customers.At 14, Kaufman participated with nine other New York City students in a cultural art exchange with students in Japan, resulting in his attaining a scholarship to the Parsons School of Design.Since his death, Steve Kaufman’s artwork has appeared in several television programs, art tourism hotels, and a number of international exhibitions.
Born in Belarus, Victoria Kovalenchikova moved to Amsterdam in 2008 and opened a gallery and studio in her own name, where she permanently shows her artworks. Her pieces can be found at the Museum of Belarusian State Academy of Arts, Belarusian Contemporary Fine Art Museum, The National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus (all in Minsk, Belarus), Maslennikov Art Museum, Mogilev Regional Study of Local Lore Museum named after Romanov, Mogilev Museum of Ethnography (all in Mogilev, Belarus), Belarusian Embassy in Berlin, Germany; Belarusian Embassy in Hague, the Netherlands; in the collection of the municipality of Coevorden, the Netherlands; as well as in private collections in Germany, Poland, Russia, Belarus, UK, USA, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, France, Lebanon and Switzerland. Kovalenchikova explores the monumentality of the continents and the power of the earth through her works. Her large canvases reveal the grandeur of our planet as well as its fragility, the importance of its details. By layering fragments of seashell, sand, and glass into mountains and divets on her paintings, Kovalenchikova creates art with a unique tactility. Kovalenchikova's representations of the earth confront viewers with the earth from all perspective, repositioning them and their relationships to their surrounding world.
Graeme Hagan, son of acclaimed artist Robert Hagan, also represented at Agora Galleries, is an Australian artist who paints in the Impressionist style. Taking inspiration from The West, nature, and the female figure, Hagan paints with sincerity and focus. He continues on the legacy of his father through painting in the Impressionist style, although Hagan's unique perspective shines through. Hagan's color palette can take on a moodier, darker tone than his father's.
I believe that as we are products of our experiences as well as our own choices, in order to best understand the intentions of my work, it is important to consider my background and certain pivotal events in my life which helped determine my ultimate path. I was born into a large family in Salt Lake City who practiced a fundamental American religion. My questioning nature never allowed me to believe in the dictates of their faith. I sought a verifiable understanding of the nature of our existence as well as a transcendent knowing, dependent neither on an intermediary nor strictly structured dogma.
Professionally, I began working as a decorative artist at a young age, discovering the beauty inherent in the natural process of decay while working on conservation projects of cathedrals and state capitols.
Some years later, while in the process of performing renovation on my century old home, I became enamoured by the physical traces I discovered of the many souls who had previously made the house a home. Beautifully patterned and preserved matchbooks from the roaring 1920's which I found under layers of flooring, faded paper with elegant handwriting dated April 11, 1912 which had been lodged behind a baseboard, old photographs of soldiers who had sent snapshots home during war, which had been preserved between layers of wall covering... all of these placeholders of moments from a recent past fueled my imagination and sparked my creative inquiry. I strove to understand context, on levels both individual and universal.
In 2007, after working in the decorative arts for 18 years, I fell from a scaffold while painting trompe l'oiel ornament on a state capitol and shattered my C5 vertebra. While waiting on a stretcher for an MRI examination, I was struck by the epiphany that the time had finally come to unquestioningly follow the muse who had always beckoned. My neck was subsequently fused at two places, and during my recovery, I gained full custody of my son, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and I returned to art school after an 18 year hiatus. I have now embraced the role of urban archaeologist, researching the recent past through traces left by others who had earlier crossed the same path.