Erarta Galleries London is delighted to present Prismatic by Gennady Zubkov. A protagonist of the Non-conformist generation and a leader of the Sterligov group, Zubkov has a unique artistic vision, one that fuses the theory of the Russian Avante-Garde and Suprematism with contemporary concerns of transience and ephemerality.
The loosely painted shards of colour that build Zubkov’s crepuscular images form the basis of his painting methodology. A student of Vladimir Sterligov, himself a student of Kazmir Malevich, Zubkov learned not only the concepts of the Russian Avante-Garde and Suprematism, but also Impressionism, Cubism, and all the major art theories of the 20th century despite the constraints of the Communist regime in power in 1960’s Russia. Under the tutelage of Sterligov, Zubkov entered into an intellectual study of form and colour. Building upon his teacher’s theory of “spherical geometry,” Zubkov developed the painting theory “form creates form,” a theoretical pursuit to which he has dedicated his life. Zubkov’s shards of colour act like a threat running through everything, and his deceptively simple images are presented as if through a prism – focused, and yet refracted.
During the Russian Avante-Garde, nature retreated while form came to the fore. The influence of the Avente-Garde is clear in Zubkov’s work, but importantly he is able to merge both form and nature in a prismatic vision, into nature’s fractal architecture. The process can be a long one; Zubkov is known to come back to paintings years after they were commenced. Three of the paintings that make up the Prismatic exhibition were begun more than three decades ago and re-visited by the artist at intervals. It is as if the images Zubkov creates are of a world asleep, an abbreviated reality that he is able to crystalize, to make more real and more saturated while maintaining a perfectly poised element of essentialism. His images simultaneously coalesce and dissolve; frozen yet ephemeral.
There are hidden tensions in Zubkov’s work, tensions that belie the outward calm of the balanced tones and muted colours. His paintings are a struggle as evidenced by his continued re-working of them, although there is no aggression in the work itself. Ultimately, the paintings in Prismatic present time as a malleable entity – the methodology of form and colour and the intellectual study of colour and space practiced and honed to a point where time seems to stand still in a crystalline vision. Gennady Zubkov’s paintings present images held in temporary stasis by the fractal architecture of nature – a fleeting, prismatic vision created over hours, days, even decades.
Notes for editors:
Gennady Zubkov was born in Perm in 1940. He moved to Leningrad to study at the Herzten State University, graduating from the graphics department. In the 1960’s he began his tutelage under Vladimir Sterligov, whose theoretical approach to painting greatly influenced him. As a Non-conformist artist, Zubkov participated in the first unofficial exhibitions at the Gas Palace of Culture and the Nevsky Palace of Culture in 1974 and 1975 respectively. Zubkov has participated in over 150 exhibitions and has paintings in the collections of the State Russian Museum, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the State Museum of St. Petersburg History, the Museum of Non-conformist Art, and the Diaghilev Art Foundation
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