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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Poetic painter

The best works of Serhii Riepka in the exhibit “Lyric of Color”
13 May, 2014 - 10:44
LARYSA’S PORTRAIT, 2011

At the respectable age of 70 years, the Kyiv-based artist Serhii Riepka managed to preserve a truly youthful, emotional and romantic perception of life. He has a rare and lucky gift of sensing the subtlest impulses of life and reflect this strange melody in his vivid and dynamic paintings.

 The exhibit “Lyric of Color” recently held at the AVS Art Gallery featured still lifes, landscapes, and portraits by Riepka, executed in the artist’s characteristic and easily recognizable manner. Viewers were able to admire the symphony of color, expression, and dynamics of the well-known Kyiv sites: Andriivsky Uzviz, the ancient hills covered with lilac blossom, and even dare go out in a violently stormy sea. And for those who have been dreaming of visiting exotic countries, Riepka prepared a surprise: a visual tour to tea plantations in China.

 The artist’s original style has been forming for many years. Its active and expressive foundations were laid back in the 1970s, even despite the rigid canons of socialist realism officially dominating during the Soviet era, and the fact that paintings with obvious leftist tendencies (expressionism, impressionism, abstract art) ran a considerable risk of failing the examination at the exhibition committee. However, after mastering the academic school of art, Riepka could reinterpret its canons in his own way and find his individual artistic course, thus giving way to his emotionality and extreme sensitivity. He is a purely poetic artist, who easily finds common language with various color combination and above all, strives to reflect in his art the very “feeling of life,” its wisdom and philosophy, secret biorhythms of nature, and the human inner world.

 “Nowadays, art is often not contemplated, but superficially glanced over, attention being only paid to external effects without taking the trouble to look inside,” says the gallery’s art director Alla Marychevska, sharing her impressions. “Serhii Riepka is interesting because he is one of those artists who create paintings in key subjects: the deep, sincere, genuine things. His art is very honest, one can feel there a purely academic foundation and at the same time, a unique artistic approach, the artist’s personal vision of the world. He is justly considered to be an experimentalist.”

 “The color is the main compound for an artist from the variety of artistic expression tools, it forms the compositional and significative basis of space revelation,” continues Marychevska. “Serhii Riepka’s works have a distinct air of mystery, a subtly hued pallet, expressive plasticity, and pastose strokes. I am sure that art-sensitive viewers will feast their eyes on the watercolor-like transparency of his canvases, with their tender shimmering of colors and bright, contrasting paints. There are several female images as well: in these psychologically authentic portraits we can see human nobility and the elevation of spirit, so extremely important for all of us today.”

 For art admirers, the exhibition at the AVS Art Gallery was a great opportunity to see the creative heritage of the artist whose works are part of the collections of the Direction of Art Exhibitions of Ukraine and the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, Direction of Exhibitions of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine, and numerous private collections in Ukraine, Japan, Germany, France, Finland, and Australia.

By Olena SHAPIRO, art expert. Photo of painting courtesy of the AVS Art Gallery
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