Visual arts are struggling through a crisis of ideas. The crisis is not the first one, obviously, but this time there’s a bit less hope that painting will survive, as there seem to be no crazy geniuses to push anything or anyone forward. No matisses, no picassos, no bacons, rothkos or pollocks. It seems everything has been invented, tried and tested, and artworks we see today are more or less a repetition or a combination of past tricks and treats.
Of course, I have not seen everything. If there’s a sleeping innovative genius you’re aware of, drop me a link, please.
Most bad artist satisfy themselves with mimicking some great artist of the past. Most mediocre artists go for mixing a few great artists of the past into their own “unique” manner. Today, I want to share paintings of a talented Russian artist (a little bit poisoned by ideology) who COULD DO SO MUCH BETTER.
I would love to hear your suggestions on what he could do better. The artist does not know about this blog, and I will pass your ideas on to him via a gallerist who is keen to invest into the guy’s promotion.
Let’s call the artist Boris, just like the London’s mayor.
What happens when you mix, stir and shake Malevich, Malyavin and a patchwork quilt?
These are the ingredients:
(a) Kazimir Malevich, who believed in the supremacy of colour
(b) Filipp Malyavin, who made a Russian peasant woman the icon of life:
Actually, it is a huge work that can’t be appreciated in a small format. So, let’s get a closeup on one of the whirlwinding ladies:
(c) patchwork quilt
Now, if you mix (a), (b), and (c), you get a painting by Boris:
Why is Boris good?
- Bold pure colours
- Unusual, striking colour combinations
- Nicely timed rhythm
The three “ingredients” energize viewers and are simply pleasant to watch.
In some paintings the artist juxtaposes forms to create a conflict from the paradoxical combination:
A gallerist may say Boris’ manner is recognisable, which is good for sales. Branding in the art world is just as important as in TV adverts.
What is not so good about Boris?
Boris’ ideology is dubious. Russia is not a fairytale bird with an
olive branch orthodox cross in its beak:
The soul of Russia is much more controvercial, and more interesting as well. It has a dark side too. Without showing the dark side, it is not possible to show the bright side convincingly. Boris’ paintings do not show the true Russia but are propaganda posters for a Russian patriot.
Boris also has a problem in the story-variety department. Once you’ve seen a few works, you get the impression you can’t discover anything new.
Good can come out of bad?
Boris welds together the Orthodox Christianity and Slavic paganism with artistic avant garde (well, dated back to the early 20th c.). This is an unusual mix, at least in today’s Russia.
Now, there’s a gallery of Boris’ work to walk through.
Once you’ve gone through it, please, tell me which innovation or direction you can suggest for Boris to explore, follow, develop?
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