Monumental experiment in traditional painting by Hanna Kryvolap

Hanna Kryvolap became well known to art lovers and collectors in 1990th, and holds a prominent position among the several artists who have a serious, reliable voice of modern ukrainian art abroad. For several decades already this author, whose work is successfully presented in Europe and the USA, is one of the novators, who surprise us with the contents and the attempts to find alternative perspective of a flexible art in abstract painting. Since december 15, a one man show of Hanna Kryvolap, called “Involvement” (“The Touch”) is open for visitors in the show room of Dukley Gallery (Budva, Montenegro). Curator of this exhibition is the well known gallery owner – Marat Guelman. ArtsLooker journalist, Roxana Rublevska brings us closer to the first run expo of the  “mosaic” serie, its effect and impression on people and its specifics.

Hanna Kryvolap was born and experienced her art education in Kyiv, but pretty early she started to take part in  international exhibitions and after a short period she began to have shows and established her studios in 3 different countries: Montenegro, Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Best features of abstract expressionism, philosophy of idealism, as well as nostalgic motifs of folk-decorative art of the Ukraine start to appear in her work in Munich, the historical center of the creative intelligentsia.

The name of the project “Involvement” appeals to the sensitive experience, it appeared as an artist’s associative impression after the tactile contact with artifacts – ancient Montenegrin mosaics. Starting from specific, historical images, Hanna created her, almost musical, compositions based on the collage principles. So her “Involvement” can be considered as one of the theses of Platonism – according to it the eartly objects are subject to ideas: the mind is able to experience an ideal appearence in objects and by observing it precisely to understand its essence.

In the publications of Henri Bergson  the “involvement”is likewise mentioned but related to the involvement to the art of the worldwide evolution process. This does perfectly explain the concept of emotional experience in mosaic  that Hanna explores (from clay painted rods, rough pebbles, Byzantine smalt to impressionist separated spreads of color and the smallest unit of digital image – pixel). It is one of the precise analytic purpose of our consciousness, that aims to combine and streamline fragments of the environment while constructing a single mythological picture of our world.

The monumental-sculptural concept of these serie has a special integrity, despite even regarding the variation in size of the 22 paintings that are exhibited. Together they create a vast panorama, achiving the “real space” effect. Hanna deliberately avoids conventionality and ornamentation, that are dictated by the specifics of the depicted material, and leaves geometrics and the strict logic of construction, which finds its manifest in harmony with the original architectural form. Her mosaic relief emerge from paint and vice versa – opening the composition, as a mutual and reciprocal in in addition to nature. The understanding of the author comes to the conclusion that the imaginative and shaping system is mobile, dynamic, connected to the place and the special features of the environment that does surround it.

The shape of the “Involvement” has  emotional expressiveness – aesthetic tone. Even though Hanna shares Bergson’s intuitionism, saturation of the paint and geometric spots, complementing each of these, they have not the simbolistic roots but the avant-garde ones. In consensus the yellow details look like the triangles and a symbolised eccentric motion, blue ones are like stretched circles and they express the spiritual concentration, orange and purple ones – secondary colors from red(materia) – go with the shapes of trapeze and ellipse. The artist purposely avoids creating plot painting, religious or myth-making connotation, though mosaic was always an armature for those. But if you look upon her work it seems that even in these absolutely abstract picture there are some references to real objects, I would compare it to the Rorschach associative test, that causes a sense of satisfaction even to the least prepared viewer.

In this sense the serie is close to the monumental pictural compositions indeed, that is the reason why it can easily withstand any challenge with scale, and the paintings, even though they are not decorated with real smalt, still have this illusion of voluptuousness because of the juicy colors and the clarity of contours. Also in relation to the point that Hanna uses the specification, over detailing to show the interpenetration and the initial connection of the micro and macrocosm. The use of intense color produces stronger expressive-spatial characteristics. Kryvolap turns to the biggest contrast, that appears in color theory of the main triad-yellow-red-blue, and the activity of this manifestation is influenced by the presence of white color in the composition, that softens the brightness of the adjoining color and the black one, which makes the closest color lighter.

The artist’s attention is focused, maybe for the first time  on the decorative scope of the paint instead of its picturesque qualities. Decorative use of the paint is revealed thanks to the monumental greatness and the positioning of the paint as a decorative material. By the specific position of the ligh source, that imitates the reflection of the depicted smalt, the artist gives us an opportunity to believe that we observe it through a magnifying glass. Of course it is not the attempt to compensate one kind of art by another one, not the demonstration of self-sufficient basic academic skills of the illustration of something that we have seen before – but the presentment of the distinctive value of the fixed memory through the hypertrophied monumentality.

It seems that Kryvolap extends the architectural understanding by  loose composition, with a development that pushes outward. Despite the repetition of the mosaic motive, and the idea of the reproduction of the touch to the artifact appears mutable. On some paintings the revival of the aesthetic features of the synthetic art of the ethnic groups seems to be recognizable, on some others – those are replaced by the verve of the line, where a bright mosaic center is shifted and absorbed by the black-and-white background, referring to the graphic technique of dematerialization of the space.

However, the abstraction has not an spiritualized end for Anna Kryvolap, but only the expression of the inner condition, and even the trampled geometry here will not serve to the rationality. Her work lead to the intuitive projection of the own subconscious, free of any objectivization of the reality. The artist opens another world to the viewer, the world of aesthetic amazement, which exists beyond the material, the world of non-critical contemplation, children’s delight, that is always perceived in feelings.


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