As Russia prepares to host the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Erarta gallery London has seized the opportunity to examine the wider landscape of Krasnodar through a group exhibition named for the region’s English translation. Located along the Southern coast of the country, bordering the Black Sea, Krasnodar boasts gorgeous seascapes, rolling mountains, green forests and rich farmland. This incredible natural diversity is reflected in the creative voices of Dmitry Kochanovich, Sergey Yashin and Vladimir Migachev as they evoke the physical, historical and spiritual eminence of the land known simply as the ‘Red Gift’.
The youngest of the exhibitors, Dmitry Kochanovich, creates highly emotive landscapes charged with intense personal feeling. Kochanovich adopts an academic approach to landscapepainting, and his works often suggest a great spirituality as in the idealised panoramas of the 19th century Romanticists. Yet Kochanovich’s work is distinctive through its inclusion of incongruous elements, interrupting any sense of reality. Vibrant swishes of pigment, or articles which resemble transparent sheets of fabric, are lain over his scenes, adding a mystical, perhaps symbolic element to his representations.
Highly respected artist Vladimir Migachev, once a university tutor of Kochanovich, seeks to convey the essence of the land in his work. Migachev preferred abstract painting early in his career for its complete lack of visual or literary reference. However, a year of producing wall paintings in Orthodox churches saw the re-emergence of figurative imagery in his work. The artist’s monumental depictions of rolling hills, flat farmlands and overcast seashores are expressed with rapid brushstrokes, dripping paint and sombre tones. The resulting artworks are almost savage in their impulsive gesture and thick application of material.
Sergey Yashin stands apart from his fellow artists for his preoccupation with the human aspect of Krasnodar. Figures dominate the canvases of this award-winning painter, a long-time memberof the Russian Union of Artists. Meanwhile deep shadows, energetic diagonals and course brushstrokes call to mind the landscapes of Migachev. Even when portraying ballerinas, the most swift and precise variety of classical dancers, he illustrates them with unrestrained vigour. Yashin takes inspiration from the modern masters, and in fact one cannot help but recall Edgar Degas’ dancers elegantly poised on stage, theatrically lit by the limelight. Ultimately though Yashin’s depictions combine a classical intellectualism with a highly personal expressiveness, for dramatic scenes that are likewise telling of the Kuban terrain.
Composed of a museum in St. Petersburg and galleries in London, New York, Zurich and Hong Kong, Erarta seeks to introduce contemporary Russian artists to the international art market through exhibitions, special programmes and professional art consulting. As a non-for-profit organisation, all earnings are reinvested into the gallery to further promote their artists abroad.
By Ellen Von Wiegand