Tag: carpatho-rusyn art

Mikuláš Rogovský – boldly capturing the bright

Dancers by Mikulas Rogovsky Source: Humenne Museum
Dancers by Mikulas Rogovsky Source: Humenne Museum

Right before Christmas 2013 in The Museum of Humenne, Slovakia, a commemorative plaque of Mikuláš Rogovský was presented to the mayor of a small village – Ulič (eastern Slovakia), together with a reproduction of one of his paintings given as a gift to the residents. The painter was born there, lived most of his life in Košice, and some eleven years after his death was symbolically brought back to his roots.

Rogovský studied under Dezider Milly, among others, and after 1952 he devoted himself exclusively to painting. He was very much at home in different media, and whether it was oils or watercolors, his paintings are vivid and bright, emanating the almost unnatural light through and through. Many are executed in my personal favorite -“sketched in” roughly, having the feel of being unfinished, striving to capture the moment before it changes. He loved painting landscape, horses, figures and urban scenes, and I think he succeeded in transporting his rich, sensual view of the world onto the canvas. I greatly encourage you to visit this link for more of his artwork and photos from the mentioned commemoration, or enter his name as spelled here in the image search. You are in for a treat.

Sunflowers by Mikulas Rogovsky Source: Strazske
Sunflowers by Mikulas Rogovsky Source: Strazske
The Autumn Market by Mikulas Rogovsky Source: Strazske
The Autumn Market by Mikulas Rogovsky Source: Strazske

Zoryana “Bazka” Bazylevych – evoking the childhood fairy-tales

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2013 was the second year that Zoryana Bazylevych exhibited with The Warhol Effect: Lemko Jerusalem in southern Poland. Zoryana studied decorative arts and textile design  in Lviv, she has a law degree, and also works as a book cover designer and an illustrator. One of her significant exhibitions was held in April 2013 in Lviv, in the largest exhibition hall in Ukraine, The Palace of Arts. She showed thirty of her still-lifes and landscapes described by the critics as “a diary of emotions secured in by colors in a manner of folk fairy tales, often using a childlike perspective, yet not so much infantile as unhampered by stereotypes.”

Nevertheless, which dimension of childhood fairy tales are we getting here? I dare say it is not the ephemeral quality of barely-there fairies and invisible beings that make you consider magic. It is rather the solid quality of the land and the people’s connection to it that colored their everyday striving and their imagination which helped transferring to the next generation the tradition, wisdom and beauty,  but also doubts and fears. Zoryana captures this complex verbal tradition and makes it visual. Her paintings are rich, firm and substantial, they do not disappear into a haze at the first sign of approaching human footsteps. They will stand their ground to reveal the story of the inspiration that is behind them.

Justyna Maksymczak – a young talent from southwestern Poland

One evening I checked out the Rusyn Art Facebook page and I noticed a post by Vanio Fesz with three words – our Lemko girl. The link took me to very modern, abstract paintings and sculptures by Justyna Maksymczak from Przemkow, Poland. She majored in the most wonderful art fields: conservation and restoration of masterpieces, renovation of artistic craft and architectural detail, and now topping it with MA in art history, spending her last semester in Germany. She has exhibited with The Warhol Effect: Lemko Jerusalem and it is through her that I got to know other Carpatho-Rusyn artists involved in it. 

Some of the oil paintings that I had the advantage to go through reminded me of abstract expressionism, yet not necessarily of its color blast. Justyna chooses her palette well. It can be somewhat subdued and gentle, with purposeful accents of primary colors applied to draw the eye in, to focus. Or, she can juxtapose more vivid tones in a fantastic medley the effect of which will be nothing short of an exhilarated movement. And either way she goes, she retains her signature that makes the works recognizably hers.

Mykhaylo Barabash – “the Earth cannot hold its breath”

Exploring the work of a Ternopil native Mykhaylo Barabash, now living  in Lviv, Ukraine, introduces us to an art genre that I have not mentioned yet: installation artIts  can be traced back to the second half of the 20the century and it makes use of a large interior (or exterior) space to gather and position various items in order to present a prepared concept through a complex sensory experience over a period of time. The space itself adds to the meaning and atmosphere that the artist tries to evoke, and very often all the viewer’s senses are under attack. Barabash’s installations are conceptually challenging, confronting you with such complex issues as, for example, the nature of beauty, the human influence on the environment, sincerity, creation, destruction, the ill effects of time. These final stages are preceded by observing even the most mundane things, like holes in the road, or gas pipes, or dilapidated buildings, and a subsequent cogitation.

Barabash studied at the Department of Monumental Painting at the Lviv’s Academy of Arts and has participated in numerous exhibitions and plein-airs in Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia since 1998. One of his important art initiatives came in 2011 when he co-founded NURT, an art association that connects mainly painters and musicians in joint projects. Apart from installation art, he also focuses on painting, land art and video installation, and I encourage you to click on these links to see his artwork presented as he intends it, together with the explanations.

The Allegory of Beauty II (2010) by Mykhaylo Barabash Source: Courtesy of Mykhaylo Barabash
The Allegory of Beauty II (2010) by Mykhaylo Barabash. The soil and the flowers are real. The meaning gets more complex when you see this.
Source: Courtesy of Mykhaylo Barabash
Symptom (2007)  by Mykhaylo Barabash
Symptom (2007) by Mykhaylo Barabash inspired by the Podgoretsky Castle.
Source: Courtesy of Mykhaylo Barabash

Daniel Postellon – at the confluence the man and the nature

In June 2014 The Pedvale Open-Air Art Museum in Latvia hosted the 7th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art. It is a globally important academic event that, among other things, enables contemporary artists in the field to work together and to contribute their ideas to the discussion about the influence of the sculptural iron casting on contemporary art and landscape transformation. One of the permanent exhibits will be constructed on-site, drawing an inspiration from a Japanese land art movement Mono-Ha, by a sculptor born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Daniel Postellon.

For Postellon, the sources of creativity are innumerable: cosmic events, art movements, science, history, geography, religion, works of other artists. His work is thoroughly premeditated, it is informed, and in its attempt at representation it becomes metaphorical, layered. The very act of combining natural and artificial materials enables him to draw from the position of humans as part of the nature, but also to make a statement on their relative separateness as brought about by their transformation of natural resources. Collaborating with other artists, experimenting with techniques (e.g. making iron casts from origami or bubble wraps) and fusing traditions that are often thousands of years apart makes his otherwise contextually-bound wooden carvings and iron casts escape the constraints of time and place.

I am sharing with you several of my favorite pieces whose execution shows the artist’s contemporary awareness of the movements long past.