Friday, February 18, 2011

Ukrainian Artists Bidniak Kholodny

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I have written before about the importance of viewing distances in art. Whether it is sculpture or one of those well-designed perspective drawings that you have probably seen via the Internet if not in person on the street (or other “3-d” artworks in a 2-d format), the position of the viewer can make or break the impression the art gives. But even in “normal” paintings, this distance from the artwork changes our perceptions and sometimes emotions when experiencing a work of art.

I have heard it said that gallerists can tell when a visitor is an artist vs. a collector (or perhaps wearing one hat or another because artists can be collectors too!). The collector tends to allow a single or few works grab his attention, paying little heed to the others in the room. The artist examines every single work, most often moving up close to see each stroke.

Today, I am wearing my artist cap (or should I say beret?). Here are two more landscape paintings that I saw at The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art recently. This first “Untitled” oil on board was painted in 1963 by Ukrainian artist Mykola Bidniak (1930-2000). The detail image (particolare in Italian) appears first.

This second painting is by another Ukrainian artist, Petro Kholodny (1876-1930). His untitled landscape was painted (oil on board) in 1927. Odd that my choice here happened to be of two landscape artists whose lives perhaps never touched, the one dying in the same year that the other was born.

And finally, this last painting has little to do with this post other than I wanted to show it to you. It was also a part of the exhibit (although part of the permanent collection) at The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. I looked at “Traffic” up close and later from across the room. It gave me a headache wherever I stood, regardless of viewing angle or distance. However, I had to admit that this 1948 oil painting by Harold Hayden truly captures the agitation and confusion often felt when people start crowding one another. “Traffic” did impress me that I felt this uncomfortable-ness from everywhere in the room whenever I placed my eyes on it.

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