Ukrainian painting is an integral part of world artistic culture. Folk spirit and realism became the main slogans of the democratic artists. In their works they frequently touched upon the acute social problems of the day. They also actively asserted positive ideals, depicted the harmony of nature and man and reproduced in vivid images the eternal fascination of life. The best works of the time are characterized by realistic motives, penetrated with emotions; painting is sophisticated and colorful.
YurijYehorov, the painter who has been such a dominant figure in the Southern Ukrainian painting in the last two or three decades, that some art critics even call these decades “the epoch of Yehorov”. His generations, pure and simple paintings open for us the beauty of the sea of Odesa.Yehorov paints everything, even his big canvases, not in his studio but outdoors, in the open air. He wants to be in contact with what he paints all the time. There is some magic in his art.
The characteristic noise of the port reaches Slishynskyi’s studio through the open window. The paintings are like windows open to the sun, light and splendor of southern landscapes. But in general OrestSlishyskyi prefer cold and subdued colors, the mood of his paintings is often somewhat melancholic. Probably it is because he studied at the Fine Arts Academy in St. Petersburg and the several climate of the northern city had left an indelible impact upon him. Nevertheless in some of his paintings one does find explosions of emotions, hot monochromatic generosity. OrestSlishyskyi loves overseas voyages, loves travelling and from his travels he brings back pictures of the places he has visited. In his young years he went to study at a merchant-navy school but left it to devote himself to the art of painting. But in spite of his occasional urge to see distant lands, he prefers to pain what is close to his heart: the Crimean landscapes, the town of Sudack with its mediaeval Genoese fortress, the town Yalta, Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, a small Ukrainian town. SaysSlishyskyi: “You see, I just love that little town. There used to be a very ancient settlement at the place where now Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi stands. People lived there twenty five hundred years ago. Imagine that. So, whenever I get there, I feel the energy of so many generations of people that is getting into me. It’s all very mysterious, but it moves me to be creative, inspires me.”
“Mysterious,” “mystical,” “mystic” are the words that came to mind when we see the paintings by VolodymyrTsiupko. Many of us are aware that there exiting that goes beyond our everyday world, something that is much above it, something eternal and imperishable. The artist Tsiupko is after looking into the mysterious world. Some of the writings of Nikolai Gogol are a source of inspiration for Tsiupko. His pictures are an invitation to ponder the existential and transcendental mysteries. “The goal of art is to turn chaos into harmony,” says Tsiupko expressing his thoughts aloud. “There is what I call the real art and pseudo-art. Painting is just a form to be filled with contents. If art does not fulfil its harmonizing function, it’s bad art. Art is a part of the ritual called “life” and it exists not for entertaining but for shaping the spiritual world of man.”
In his wall and easel paintings VolodymyrTsiupko creates a strange world full of shapes, colors, surface texture. These elements of Tsiupko’s pictorial world live a life of their own, interacting with each other, with the world visible and the world transcendental. The artist teaches us not only to react emotionally to art but also to ponder the universal, spiritually complex, mysterious. Tsiupko’s art makes you ponder and wonder.There is something similar between the streets of Odessa and Basanet’s art. Basanets shares some of his views on art with us, “I wish I had a child’s ingeniousness and could look at the world through a child’s eyes.” Looking at Basanets’ pictures is in a sense like reading Japanese poems made up of three lines each. The same compressed poetic formulas; it does not leave you indifferent. You cannot help having your concentration focused, you can’t help searching for an impulse sent to you by the artist which makes you aware of a profound meaning hidden in them. Similarly, looking at Basanets’ pictures makes you aware that these is much more in them than they actually represent pictorially.
Savchenko’sart can be described as abstract. In the Soviet times abstractionism was suppressed and abstract artists could show their works only at “underground” exhibition or privately to a few art lovers. Often they were persecuted. Now, in the independent Ukraine artists are free to show their works at exhibitions and art galleries, no matter what style or art trend they follow. Savchenko’s abstract pictures are dynamic compositions with rich symbolism and a system of signs not unlike that of a pysanka (a painted and ornamented Easter egg) or a vyshyvanka (an embroidered towel, kerchief etc.). One has to learn to read these special signs of abstract art. It’s like learning a foreign language. But once you have learnt it, it opens to you its richness.
“My works are connected in a sense with Ukrainian poetic folklore. They belong to a peculiar world of philosophic symbolism. They are fairy-tales through not for kids but for mature grownups. It’s impossible to understand them without an effort, without thinking them over, without a conscious attempt to penetrate into their chimerical world made of things irrational and unreal and quite real things. But words cannot describe what I wanted to express through my art. You just have to look. Can one describe the beauty of the river in such a way that you would really feel it? Or you can one describe in words the emotional impact the starry sky makes upon us at night? Can one catch the irrationality of our dreams?”
Prokopenko’s paintings reveal his fascination with the beauty and grace of a woman’s body. The artists also explore the intricaties and nuances of human relations and emotional states. The women he shows on his canvases are not at all like emancipated and almost sexless females one can now see so often on TV screens, in movies and in real life who look and talk tougher, more mudeand more profligate than the man himself. No, you will not find such women in Prokopenko’s art. His women are full of magic and charm, they are loveable, bewitching, sensuous, teasing.
Words and word-combinations:
one should not escape reality—не слід втікати від дійсності
artisticbrushstrokes- майстерні штрихи
sitter, syn. model—натурник
emotional appeal—емоційне звернення
thought-provoking—що примушує замислитись