Bright palette never fades

Artists of Gomel Region-2012 exhibition, hosted by ‘Palace of Arts’ Minsk Gallery, is pleasant unexpected discovery for rather sophisticated capital audience
By Victor Mikhailov

Synthesising the richest Slavonic cultures of three nations — Belarus, Russia and Ukraine — the Gomel Region has carefully preserved its ethnographic and cultural essence. Its folk crafts and customs are distinctive, bearing the priceless spiritual legacy of the great Orthodox enlightener Kirill Turovsky. It bears many prominent names, of whom we can be proud: among them are academician of painting, artist Georgy Nissky (1903-1987); People’s Artist of the USSR, academician of painting Yevsei Moiseenko (1916-1988); and People’s Artist of Belarus Vitaly Tsvirko (1913-1993).

People’s Artist of Belarus Gavriil Vashchenko (born in the Gomel Region’s Polesie) has also made a great contribution to the development of contemporary national pictorial art. A gallery bearing his name successfully operates in the regional centre. The artist himself lives in the capital but continues to embody the bright artistic traditions of the Polesie area.

The creative heritage of Victor Kazachenko (1918-1998) and Valentin Krylov (1929-2001) has also enriched the Gomel Region’s pictorial art, as have works by Akim Shevchenko (1902-1980), Vladimir Rykalin (1929-1992), Oleg Petrov (1934-1998) and Victor Zhiltsov (1940-2001). Boris Zvinagrodsky (1896-1982) — a master of landscape art and an authoritative teacher — has also connected his life with the Gomel Region for many years.

Today’s Gomel painting school boasts an expressive style and uniquely rich colours, mostly relying on open air painting; Honoured Figure of Belarus Dmitry Aleinik was one of the first to promote the technique. Even now, his works show his spiritual excitement and freshness of palette, reflecting the mood of nature with sincere grandeur. He reaches out to us, helping us to understand our world at a deeper level. His concord with nature, penetrating understanding and ability to delicately transfer his feelings and impressions into his work set him apart. He has inspired such artists as Nikolay Kazakevich and Robert Landarsky, whose works at the exhibition in Minsk are also distinctive and rich in both palette and content.
Gomel painters Gennady Gavorka, Anatoly Otchik and Valentin Pakatashkin, as well as sculptor Dmitry Popov, have joined Mozyr painters Piotr Zakharov, Valery Sidorkin and Nikolay Dubrov in presenting works which explore the topic of Chernobyl. The abstract canvases of Vitaly Denisenko are mysterious and dramatic while Andrey Krylov seeks out new images. The exhibition also features the monumental and decorative-and-park sculptures of Dmitry Popov, Valery Kozlovsky, Alexander Kamarzin, Vyacheslav Dalgov and Vladimir Andrianov, combining tradition and innovation.

The last such exhibition of works by Gomel Region artists was hosted by the Palace of Arts 12 years ago, entitled Eternal Horizons from Polesie — exploring the richness of those marshlands. That unique landscape continues to dominate most Gomel Region artists’ works, including those who prefer still-life painting. We see this in the paintings of Valentin Yegorov, Valentin Pakatashkin, Leonid Kirianov, Lyubov Stepanova, Piotr Fei, Nikolay Kukharenko, Victor Baranov, Alexander Gailevich, Alexander Kostyuchenko, Alexander Fedotov, Victor Landarsky, Nikolay Kulesh and Leonid Melnikov, as well as in the works of virtuoso watercolour artist Svetlana Kurashova.

Young Gomel painters offer us fresh imagery, an impetuous manner and expressive use of colour: recent Belarusian Union of Artist members Yuri Platonov, Sergey Ignatenko, Yelizaveta Ovchinnikova, Alla Klevzhyts and Natalia Chirkova. Of course, the interiors and facades of many pubic and cultural buildings can’t be imagined without the monumental frescoes, mosaics and stained-glass windows of Vladimir Yevtukhov, Vladimir Osipov and Valentina Demenchuk, or without tapestries by Larisa Zueva, Arseny Dvoronin and Irina Danilova.

Ceramic masters Piotr Fei, Vladimir Andrianov and Mikhail Kletskov are impressive in their originality of thinking and unexpected solutions, while Tatiana Otchik and Irina Danilova create unique moods through their batik works, which seem to radiate light and encourage contemplation. Piotr Zakharov and Vladimir Tikhonov also show great mastery in theatrical set design.

The Regional Art College greatly influences new talent in the Polesie area, annually organising artistic workshops and open air seminars, as well as collective, personal and exchange exhibitions.

Artists of the Gomel Region-2012 is showcasing around 80 talented members of the Belarusian Union of Artists, presenting over 300 works varied in their technique and content, ready to speak to all those who enter the Palace of Arts in Minsk.
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