Q&A with Russian Painter Andrei Kioresku
April 13, 2018
Q&A with Russian Painter Andrei Kioresku
Andrei Kioresku offers an “unusual viewpoint on ordinary things” through rich color palettes and an impressionistic painting style. His village landscapes are heavily influenced by distant memories from his childhood in the remote Urals region of Russia, with added embellishments from the artist’s imagination. Simple country life is depicted with color languages and skewed perspectives reminiscent of Matisse, Gauguin and Cezanne, but with imagery woven from Kioresku’s personal impressions.
Andrei Kioresku’s latest paintings blend elements from his signature rural landscapes with urban architecture; the latter is inspired by his current surroundings in St. Petersburg, Russia. Visions from world travels throughout his lifetime also interact with these subjects as Kioresku juxtaposes elements from various places that have left an intimate impression on him. As a result, recurring themes relating to the road and the traveler’s return occur in Kioresku’s paintings and are unmistakably tied to his own life journey. “Perhaps an inspiration at this stage of my work was the remembrance of Moldova, my second homeland,” Kioresku muses. “Ancestors from my father’s line and my family name are from there.”
Kioresku provides deeper insights into his technique, process and inspiration in the Q&A below relating to his current solo exhibition, on display from 4/27 – 5/4.
Q&A With Andrei Kioresku
It seems that color is a big motivator for your work. How do you use color to convey a mood or emotion through your paintings?
(Andrei Kioresku) Color takes an important place in my paintings. It is color that first attracts the attention of our eyes and causes immediate emotions. But also, the composition of the picture is very important for me as an artist; it is the foundation on which the plot and coloring of the picture is built. I like to observe and create vivid, contrasting color relationships. For me, the entire space of the canvas, every inch, from edge to edge, is important. Therefore, I carefully study the entire plane. The color of the paint, if it is clean and slightly forced, causes an instant reaction from our eyes and a certain emotion. So you can enhance the mood of the landscape or quiet life and stimulate the imagination of the viewer in the right direction. In this case, the specific plot of the picture is not so important; it is only an occasion to create color harmony, a certain mood.
Why do you choose to represent the landscape in an impressionistic style rather than with realism?
(Andrei Kioresku) In the first years of my "art" path, like all professional artists, I passed the school of socialist realism. For 10 years I studied Russian and world art history. We were studying quality classical painting in art school. Then, I painted in a realistic manner well enough. But I was lucky because I chose design instead of painting when I entered the Art Academy. Thus, I was able to avoid dull studying and was not under the pressure of professors. Not at once, but gradually I felt the desire to leave the framework of realism, but at the same time did not want to slip into pure formalism. I was never attracted by a plot-less painting. It seems to me that I found a golden mean for myself; the reality of the image is depicted but at the same time the image is conditional, decorative. In this way, you can enhance the impression of the picture, emphasize and evoke the desired emotion without experiencing the harsh framework of realism.
How would you describe the style or aesthetic of your work?
(Andrei Kioresku) I pondered the name of what I'm creating for a long time. It was back in the early 90's when my paintings began to acquire their original style, which did not fit into any specific direction in the fine arts. It was still realism but not objective, not depicting exactly what was seen but not created from nature. Rather, it was a rethinking of what’s seen. At that time, I had such a word combination as subjective realism. It seemed to me that it is more an approximate word to describe what I create.
Who or what are your biggest artistic inspirations?
(Kioresku) I got a good art education. In those years, I acquired a large body of knowledge on the history of European art. I was interested in the work of the previous artists and especially French painting at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. I was impressed by the Impressionists, post-impressionists, Russian modernism and avant-garde. I consider painters of that period as teachers of art, especially Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse and artists of the Nabi group. I like to look at pictures of Russian artists in museums or catalogs such as Levitan, early Kandinsky, Kuindzhi, Roerich, Vrubel and many others who clearly showed their talent at the turn of the 20th century.
Do you paint from photographs or do you rely on imagination and memory?
(Andrei Kioresku) Interesting question. I sketched, painted etudes and wrote landscapes from nature in my early student years. In general this is necessary for every artist, but sometimes you need to switch from studying to creating, to re-think what you saw. When I was creating my first paintings, I worked in the studio and almost immediately was coming up with an idea or plot for the picture and did a small sketch of the composition on paper. White canvas was the first and most powerful of my impressions. I looked at it and imagined its future plot. It is important for me to have some specific emotion to start working on a new picture. I love to travel, to look around attentively and always have my camera with me. Some photos I take as the basis for a new picture, but only as an impression. The strongest emotions are caused by pictures by other artists, especially not finished sketches. I look at them and imagine how you can transform it, finish it. At such moments the process of creation begins; it is unpredictable until the end and I do not know how it will end, I just start painting and try to capture the first vivid emotion as soon as possible. Hundreds of other people's paintings have served as a source of inspiration but only as an incentive for my work, not as a goal to repeat them. As a result, at the end of a work it is often impossible to imagine that such picture was the reason for creating my work. There will be nothing common. In other cases, it is possible to guess the source of my inspiration but only through subtle signs. I have accumulated a large number of books and art albums that are always at hand. I find some solutions or tips for my work. I've never copied anything from photos; it's not interesting. Only the objective world is a good help for me, informational material for rethinking, a form in which it is necessary to enclose the true content.
Are your landscapes you paint images from Russia?
(Andrei Kioresku) Landscape - this is just an excuse for the picture. I do not write from nature, so it's impossible to say when looking at a picture that it was made in such and such place. The only thing that is undeniable is that everything depicted in it, I once somewhere saw. So often it happens that in one picture countries and continents unite. The characteristics of different landscapes are mixed and populated by exotic plants and animals, while people lose their nationality and time periods of residence. I consciously strive to smooth out or destroy the signs of modernity. This is so the viewer is not constrained by unnecessary information but is able to freely fantasize and decide himself where and when it happened. This gives him the right to a creative view of painting, the ability to think out and to work together with the author. I want to stop the look of the passerby with a bright unusual color first and then make him look at the details, ask himself questions and look for answers. This is a task that I am setting before myself every time I start a new painting. Of course the landscapes of Russia are stronger than others in my memory, so they are the basis. But in my life I’ve seen many other places on earth, so in the painting I want to capture their combination or more precisely, create a symbol or sign of a place or object rather than depict the place or object itself.
What can you tell us about the new work for your solo exhibition?
(Andrei Kioresku) Perhaps it is noticeable that in my new works I'm trying to find a more complex and restrained color palette. I am changing the texture of the canvas for different paintings. There are a lot of rural autumn landscapes having to do with the road and the return. Perhaps an inspiration at this stage of my work was the remembrance of Moldova, (Moldavya) my second homeland. Ancestors from my father’s line and my family name are from there.
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