Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 55cm (H) x 73cm (W) x 2.8cm (D) / 21.7" (H) x 28.7" (W) x 1.1" (D)
Note: Actual colours may vary due to photography & computer settings.
Title: A Windy Day
Year created: 2019
Medium and support: oil on canvas
Dimensions: h 55 cm × w 73 cm × d 2.8 cm
Based in: Minsk
While looking at the works of Igor Barkhatkov you forget that they are paintings. They seem to be life itself. The greatest art is that which you do not notice, as A. Rodin said. There is no need though to reveal the “secret” to a modern experienced art gallery visitor that the impression of identity of a painting and nature is an illusion. In reality every artist animates his work with his thoughts, feelings, and ideas. To put it another way: he extracts from nature everything which is in tune both with his soul and with his time. The grass is green in Germany and in France and near Moscow, and Russian pines do not differ from French ones, but even so you could not confuse landscapes of Sezanne with those of Shishkin, Corot with Levitan, or Savrasov with Byalynitsky-Birulya. By the brushwork of every artist nature becomes different, it acquires novelty and unique features.
Just glance at Barkhatkov’s paintings: there are no people. Nature is free of both the presence of people and the fruits of civilization. The artist gives space to the Spirit of God and the lines of the paintings are positioned horizontally to let it breathe freely. Low gray clouds, a strip of a forest on the horizon, lines of trees in the foreground, ridges, and the cornices of izba (log cabin) roofings — all of these are horizontal. The upper and lower parts of the painting stop being neutral and join the melody of horizontality.
Here you can clearly hear the march of Time, the objective and absolute cosmic Time, which is fully dependent on the Superior will. It moves quietly and evenly from the left side of the canvas to the right and we have no power to speed up or slow down its movement. We can only surrender to its cosmic rhythms.
The light in his canvases is indeed the Comforting Spirit pacifying the soul. There is so much kindness and hope in the soft light of a winter morning, in the cool sun of early autumn, in the golden brilliance of fading trees!
Sad are the meadows, coppices, and gray little peasant houses: who knows what fate evenly flowing time will bring them? Won’t their peace be destroyed by the grinding of excavators and the wailing of the saws? Won’t the peasants’ houses be crushed by a heartless bulldozer which leaves naked with all the shamelessness of a rapist the innermost secrets of a human dwelling: the bread-giving stove, wornout floorboards, a shred of floral wallpaper... The painter’s look is sad, he gazes at his model as if for the last time, as if saying farewell to a dear person.
There is such a law in human history: what is once created will never disappear. Culture has vast stores but has no incinerators. Even the heritage of primitive people has lived up to now in myths, in the inmost recesses of our mind, and in archeological findings. As to the culture of ancient and modem times, it goes without saying that sometimes Plato and Seneca are closer to us and more understandable than Heidegger or Bachelard.
Realism in art is alive forever and thus it will stay.
Never will fields and meadows, trees, grass, and flowers lose their value, never will they become unnecessary. Keeping all these in form and in paint, art will never lose its attractiveness.
Will a modern city dweller understand the purity and truth of this painting? Will his ears deafened by the noises of our hectic life hear the silence of these forest meadows, wastelands, and village outskirts?
With profound and deep faith I answer: Yes, this art we do need. What is more, people will understand it.
National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus
National Center for Contemporary Arts, Belarus
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Belarus
Belarusian State Museum of the History of the Great Patriotic War, Belarus
Mogilev Regional Arts Museum n.a. P. V. Maslennikov, Belarus
Grodno State Museum of History and Archaeology, Belarus
Würth Collection, Germany
Justus Frantz Collection, Germany
Magli Collection, Italy
Memorial Complex on Poklonnaya Hill, Russia
Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation, Italy
State Literary Museum of Yanka Kupala, Belarus
State Literary-Commemorative Museum of Yakub Kolas, Belarus
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