Sunday, 11 July 2010


“I am essentially a painter of the kind of still life composition that communicates a sense of tranquillity and privacy, moods which I have always valued above all else.” – Giorgio Morandi

When I was younger I really detested modern abstract painting. For example, Jackson Pollock and his “Blue Poles” or Kasimir Malevich’s pathetic and insulting “Black Square”.  I still dislike most of it, but have developed a liking for some abstract art that generates some sort of positive emotional response, rather than a negative one of abhorrence, anger or bamboozlement. On the other hand, I dislike modern pretty paintings of most realists that comes under the umbrella of “kitch” or “kiss-me-pretty” type of art. You know the kind that Thomas Kinkade glorifies in and is a Christmas-card perfect, saccharine-sweet and pastel-coloured view of the world.

I am still to be convinced about some artists that dabble in neo-realism, but in any case one has to wonder at their technical expertise and wonderful rendition of the world in glorious, technicolour photorealism. Generally, their paintings sell well and they sell at a pretty price too. Admittedly, given the choice I would rather a photorealist painting rather than an abstract one. They are less obtrusive and jar one’s senses less... I typically prefer my art more painterly, more expressionistic, more emotional and sensuous painting that grips one and draws one into the canvas.

For Art Sunday today, a photorealist who started out with a sense of painting in an academic style that was almost surrealistic in its realism and who in his later world has begun to approach the commercialism of Kincade. It is Evgeny Lushpin, who was born in Moscow in 1966. He graduated from Art-graphic department MGPU and Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts. Lushpin’s work follows the traditions of representational art of both Russian and West European pictorial art. Virtuosity and technical excellence in handling the medium, a good sense of color and form, and good composition are all found in his art.

Lately Lushpin paints landscapes and cityscapes, which he paints in a realistic manner that can err into the prettification and idealism of a plastic kitch universe. The dramatic lighting of sunset or dvanced twilight is a favourite of his, with contrasting blues and yellow-oranges of natural failing light and artificial light. His works are popular and can be found in many private collections in the USA, Europe and Russia.

Above is a painting of his that I really like. A study of bottles and other stock “still life” items that have been assembled together to highlight the painter’s skill in handling colour, composition and supreme mastery of his medium. This a calming work that can have a Zen-like effect on one’s consciousness. It dates from 1999.

On the other hand, here you can find a painting of his that I don’t find particularly appealing and is typical of his later work: The Kincade-like cityscape of dramatic lighting and saccharine sweetness of his “Evening Journey”. The jury is still out on Mr Lushpin…

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