Art News

Tha Agora Gallery Features Contemporary Russian Art

artwork: Igor Petrov  - "Prayer of the Ball" - Oil on Canvas - 61.5" x 77" - Courtesy Agora Gallery, New York. On view in "The Pursuit of Excellence: An Exhibition of Contemporary Russian Art" until December 20th.

New York City.- The Agora Gallery is pleeased to present “The Pursuit of Excellence: an Exhibition of Contemporary Russian Art” on view through December 20th, with an opening reception. The Pursuit of Excellence: an Exhibition of Contemporary Russian Art showcases the work of talented Russian artists whose astounding creations will stir the minds and the hearts of all those who embrace the vitality and wonder that defines these works of art. Courageously facing the reality of the world, yet presenting an inspiring view of what it could be, these artists will leave their mark on all who view their work. Featured artists include; Ivan Erastov , Dmitri Freund , Tamara Grizjuk , Eugeniya Infelicina , Igor Nelubovich , Igor Petrov , Valery Zharkih and Mikhail Zhirmunsky .

Ivan Erastov’s passionate oil on canvas works reference a number of world issues, among them ecology, over-consumption, energy, war, cataclysm and epidemic. Using the poetic immediacy of color and form to speak to the source of our shared humanity, Erastov addresses the search for a pure source of energy with painterly precision. Abundant use of color paired with a cleverly executed surrealist vernacular creates a powerful visual narrative for a global shift in consciousness.  Adopting simple symbols – often valves, pipes or other conduits – the artist paints the ‘limitation of consciousness’ in relationship to the harmony of nature, man and the universe. Erastov’s cogent optical strategy and his stalwart use of symbolism allow these intensely chromatic, carefully composed portraits to imbue new life into timely cultural issues. Born in 1980 in Moscow, Russia, Ivan Erastov studied art at the Moscow Humanitarian Academy under the tutelage of T.D. Chistyakova. He currently lives and works in Ryazan, Russia.

artwork: Ivan Erastov - "The Way of the Ancestors" Oil on Canvas - 43" x 33.5" Courtesy Agora Gallery, NY   The dramatic, symbolic compositions of American painter Dmitri Freund are borne of a rich confluence of interests, experiences and traditions. His extensive musical training remains evident in the rhythmic silhouettes and patterns of his skylines and landscapes, with their melodic bursts of light. He cites the influence of Russian icon paintings on his work, though it also often evokes 19th century Symbolism and early-20th century American realism, and his palette tends toward bold Fauvist tones. Yet out of these varied precedents, Freund finds new expression in his allegorical compositions. His oil paintings alternate between Edenic nature scenes with exquisite patterns layered into their lush vegetation, and dramatic cityscapes where rows of towering buildings conjure a bustling, overwhelming urban experience. Whether these canvases are optimistic or ominous, Freund imbues them with a brightness that remains defiantly hopeful. His sense of composition and way of harnessing vision echoes the images’ brilliance; Freund continually directs our eyes upwards, towards the light, in a kind of devout viewing ritual. There is a bold dichotomy present in Russian artist Tamara Grizjuk’s abstractions, a powerful balance delicately poised between colorful, sharply angular shapes and the sensitive, atmospheric softness of the brushstrokes.

Moving away from archaic, ethnic motives and the theme of Siberian identity, Grizjuk creates art of freedom and form, focused solely within her bold and enigmatic aesthetic senses. These paintings in oil on canvas draw viewers inward, inviting contemplation into their mysterious vision and meaning. “Painting has always brought me great joy. I find it the best way to communicate my ideas and feelings,” she explains. “I use color, rhythm and composition as the most important elements of constructing a canvas.” The result is something that expresses a sense of powerful energy, as the artist’s state of mind is transformed into a synthesis of color and shape. Tamara Grizjuk was introduced to art watching her father, painter Nikolai Grizjuk, at work in his studio. Now a respected artist in her own right, she has exhibited extensively throughout Russia, Europe, and China.

artwork: Dimitri Freund - "Paradise" - Oil on Linen - 24" x 39.5" - Courtesy Agora Gallery, NY. On view in "The Pursuit of Excellence - An Exhibition of Contemporary Russian Art" until December 20th.

Adroitly nimble in style and subject, Russian painter Eugeniya Infelicina imbues her canvases with a fresh, intoxicating blend of expressionism and Realism.  Muted colors, electrified in hue, grace her canvases, intoxicating the viewer in their subtle totality. Curvilinear, amorphous shapes twist and outline human passions and emotions through poetic visual lexis. Form and color join to articulate universally felt sentiments, creating a global harmony within one canvas. Rousing long forgotten childhood memories and joys, Infelicina sparks an infectious bliss within us, fostering an inherent pleasure of life. Courageous in experimental formalism, combining Henri Matisse -like realism with Pablo Picasso -esque abstractionism, her work exudes a learned sensitivity towards the themes and subjects familiar to a collective audience of young and old, civil and strange. And yet, Infelicina gently acknowledges a delicate sadness innate in human life. In this way the work speaks to the nuances of human experience and emotion.

Born in Moscow in 1976, Eugeniya Infelicina enjoyed a successful professional career before dedicating her life and work to painting. Her work has received wide critical acclaim. Bold colors pervade the works of Russian-born painter Igor Nelubovich, startling us with their ethereal beauty. Artistic since early childhood, Nelubovich creates rich, vibrant parallel realities that come alive through his startlingly luscious use of whimsical realism. Using his extensive professional experience as an architect, the artist dexterously builds structured, precise compositions in nuanced, textured brushstrokes. Tempting the edge of abstraction, he blends the marvels of his imagination with the tactile wonders of the tangible world. Through his works, Nelubovich seeks to illuminate otherworldly sensations that are imbedded in the everyday, banal moments of our lives. “I create compositions which bear in themselves an inexplicable sense or are simply decoratively beautiful – laconic, as graphics sometimes turn into a sign, a symbol,” he says, describing how his works transform the prosaic into the deeply poetic and poignant.

Born in Gorky, Russia, Igor Nelubovich studied at the Gorky Art School, and has been a professional artist for more than twenty years. He has exhibited his paintings worldwide. Igor Petrov’s dynamic abstractionism, an unusual and winning style the artist has termed ‘space logism,’ deals with pictorial space on the basic principle that matter flows from the particular to the general. Creating literal ‘mosaics’ of time and space, each inch of the composition features energetic and colorful currency for visual perception. Naming Russian analytical-realist Pavel Filonov as an important influence, Petrov’s highly saturated and rhythmic oil on canvas works address logic and emotionality, movement and rest, perfection and infinity.  Academically trained as a realist painter, Petrov has also tried his hand at Surrealism and Suprematicism. Nearly half a decade ago he turned to lines, movement, structure and interpositionality as an abstraction of time and space, something that makes him stand out among his national contemporaries. His works explore the overlap between the personal and universal cosmic law. Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Igor Petrov has had five solo exhibitions to date.

artwork: Igor Nelubovich - "Untitled" - Acrylic on Canvas - 37.5" x 41" Courtesy Agora Gallery, New York. On view until December 20th.

Dreamscapes of abstraction emerge from Russian artist Valery Zharkih’s brushstrokes, bringing to life a visual world of serenity and calm that cannot help but soothe both body and soul. Infused in the richness of the artist’s pigments is a positive and uplifting message of healing, a sense of well-being designed to improve viewers’ lives. Working in oil on canvas, Zharkih explores issues of color, texture, and form with an invigorating freedom. With a sweeping spiritual energy, the atmospheric hues softly blend and flow with light and motion. Born in a small mining town in southern Russia, Zharkih’s life’s work has been a career in medicine. This was the original inspiration for pursing art, initially as a hobby, through the realization of its beneficial and therapeutic effects for patients. Self-taught in both oils and watercolors, Zharkih creates works which touch viewers on an emotional and physical level, bringing comfort and a sense of wholeness through art. Russian painter Mikhail Zhirmunsky describes his mixed media paintings as his way of creating art that “simultaneously evokes horror and euphoria.” His compositions are certainly exhilarating, and startling in the sheer number and vivacity of visual stimuli each contains. He layers various materials, like different sorts of paper, cloth and board, most marked with numerous paints — oil, acrylic, gouache and distemper among them. The results of these complex processes are similarly hybrid paintings, with figurative, expressionist, text and abstract elements vying for dominance of the visual field.

Most pieces feature a border of metallic paint, creating a porous frame within the work that wild brushstrokes of bright colors often spill into, just as bits of covered compositions peek out from under superimposed cloth and paper layers. Bold text sits alongside abstract patterns, partially concealing distorted figurative scenes, collaged shapes and mysterious details. The overall effect is arresting, dizzying, yet mysterious, the layering of multiple images into each stunning piece piquing viewers’ interest and provoking their imagination.

The late Miki Stiles, MFA established Agora Gallery in 1984 to provide an opportunity to artists who are entering the New York art market. As an artist she faced many hardships while attempting to exhibit her art and wanted to help her fellow artists in their struggle. Ms. Stiles was a visionary who founded the gallery on the principle that all artists, particularly emerging artists, are in need of enhancing their artist biographies/CV through gallery representation and exhibitions, in order to advance their artistic careers. Today Agora Gallery is a fine art gallery located in the heart of New York City’s Chelsea art galleries district, close to the Chelsea Museum of Fine Art and the DIA Center for the Arts (map and directions). The gallery is famous for showcasing a spectacular array of talented artists from around the world and around the corner, and for providing quality and original art to a discerning collector base. Visit the gallery’s website at …