The exposition boasts some six dozen canvases that can be divided into several sections as graphic evidence of Marchuk’s unique style and various creative periods.
His pictures – portraits, landscapes, abstract paintings – are fascinating because they reflect the beauty of nature. Intricate details create a unique holistic image. In his works one finds insanity, suffocating anguish, tranquility, sad recollections of bygones.
Ivan Marchuk: “Critics simply don’t know what to write about me. They think up terms, searching for poetry and soil in which they think I grew. I grew amongst rocks, I recognize no traditions. I just came to be. They refuse to accept this. You know, I have always envied poets. A poet takes a scrap of paper and writes on it, even when in a streetcar. An artist is like an industry. If I had more room, I’d have buckets rather than cans of paint. I’d empty them on the floor and roll in the mess. There is too much expressionism in me and no way to vent it. Once I was in the woods in winter and the naked trees looked like lace against the sky. It was so beautiful, it had a rhythm of its own. I felt like taking a big brush and paint those trees with a single stroke. I came up with a dabbing-on technique because I wanted to distinguish myself so much. At the time one could buy paints that were perfect for this technique, especially St. Petersburg Tempera that allows you to play with colors. It creates vibrations and relief. I’m using Americana for my latest series because this kind of acrylic paint produces even strokes and in the end one can’t figure out how it was painted. These paintings are heavenly pure. Art is my life, it is a revelation. I am insatiable, hungry for everything new, I must work every day, like a windmill in the wind!”
The organizers of the exhibit stress that the holding of Marchuk’s display at the Kyiv History Museum on the eve of its anniversary is symbolic. Marchuk’s creative approach is free, and his unrestrained imagining and powerful expression never leave the artist in peace and keep his devotees in suspense.
The Day’s FACT FILE
Ivan Marchuk was born May 12, 1936, in Moskalivka, a village in Ternopil oblast. He studied at the Trush College of Applied Art in Lviv and then enrolled in the Institute of Applied Art. His pictures were not officially recognized by the Artists’ Union until 1988, although he worked hard and fruitfully, submitted canvases to exhibits in various Soviet cities. Beginning in 1989, he lived and worked in Australia, Canada, and the US (as “a man of the world” in his own words). He returned to Ukraine in 2001 and currently resides in Kyiv.
Ivan Marchuk is listed among the 100 living geniuses in Great Britain. The International Academy of Modern Art in Rome admitted Marchuk to the Gold Guild (that consists of only 51 members) and elected him as honorary member of the Academy’s Scientific Council. He holds the prestigious title “People’s Artist of Ukraine” and is a laureate of the Taras Shevchenko Prize.