Art at the Institute, the visual arts programming division of The Ukrainian Institute of America, presented its first exhibition of the Spring season on Friday evening, March 23, with an opening reception introducing eloquent landscape paintings, titled Silence, by Kyiv-based contemporary artist Oleksiy Lytvynenko. Curated by Walter Hoydysh, PhD, director of Art at the Institute, the exhibition marks the artist’s first solo showing in the United States.
Lytvynenko’s ethereal paintings combine organic representational elements with abstracted backgrounds in a way that is both decorative and modernist. His motifs include landscape, water, plants, insects, fish, and amphibians. He is not interested in a realistic representation of an object but in interpreting its spirit; these paintings exalt anthropocentric personality.
The artist sees the human (himself) as an integral part of nature. The affinity between man and nature is what impresses him most, rather than their contrast. He suggests by the simplest possible means the inherent nature of the aesthetic object. He understands his duty as an artist to suggest the essence, the eternal qualities of that object, which is in itself a work of natural art before he arrives.
This search for spiritual transcendence continually influences his creative vision. He durably expresses our relationships with one another, with the natural world and with the infinite. Pulling cues from Western and Eastern schools of philosophy, Lytvynenko seeks to make works that are objects of contemplation. Having undergone a process of creation, destruction and finally preservation, the stillness of meditation is echoed in the quietude of the finished paintings. Plants and creatures that transform are arranged to symbolize the enduring pattern of regeneration. The results are both curious and sublime.
Delicately nurtured by knowing hands, Lytvynenko’s use of subtle color harmonies and fluid drawing mark his belief in the importance of beauty in our lives. His subjects are used as links between the viewer and the artist’s feelings. And, the artist’s technique is used to create an illusion of the forms of reality. The eye can wander, and the mind can think unencumbered through visual realms that are expansively and emotionally rich — the sincere and unabashed offering of pleasure and solace.
Oleksiy Lytvynenko’s work has been exhibited extensively in Ukraine, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his painting from settings including the Salon International D’Art Contemporain (Nice, France) and the Soros Centre for Contemporary Art (Kyiv, Ukraine). He studied at the Kyiv State Art Institute and is a member of the Ukrainian Artists Union. Mr. Lytvynenko lives and works in Kyiv.
Oleksiy Lytvynenko: Silence remains on view at The Ukrainian Institute of America (2 East 79th Street) through April 22. Exhibition hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 12:00 – 6:00 PM.