FIRST THERE WAS THE SKY IN HIS LANDSCAPES

Harmony and Simplicity

Since childhood, the wide open spaces of Poltava prairies sank into the heart of Vasyl Korkishko. That’s where he was born, grew up, where he first felt an irresistible desire to capture the wondrous beauty of the place on the canvas. Even though he has already graduated from the Kharkiv Art and Industry Institute and moved to Dnipropetrovsk, time after time the artist turns to his favorite patterns of Poltava land. This is clearly evidenced by the canvasses hanging on the walls of his studio. Their touching simplicity is appealing, melodic and surprisingly human. It captivates the viewer, allures by reaching the human happiness of contact with the virgin nature, so much forgotten by the XXI century people.

But for all its apparent simplicity and ease of understanding, the paintings of Vasyl Korkishko are full of knowledge and skills, respect for the Ukrainian realistic landscape tradition, and at the same time, it is deeply personal, that is correlated with the concept of "intimate realism". Of course, such a generalization is somewhat one dimensional. There are many traditions in the discordance of the current state of the art, and somewhere close to the mentioned tendency there is also the niche for Vasyl Korkishko, the artist.

The tendency toward the plastic-honed expression of thought and content 'formulation’ was defined during the study at the faculty of easel graphics in the Kharkiv Art and Industry Institute, which he graduated from in 1985.

The short period of emphatic rationalism in the early paintings (a kind of "graphic vision" echo of the world) is gradually replaced by a desire for clarity of expression, engaging into deliberate contemplation, and experiencing the landscape as an integrated environment.

Picture: “Autumn has Come”

Nature, stylistic unity, "easy touch" of brush - these qualities define the charm of the artist’s landscapes. What indeed attracts is the ability of the author to clear out the story of all the random, insignificant details. A peculiar combination of inherent musical intimacy and harmony with the compositional completeness is what converts the landscapes into art images, where nature is always diverse! Sometimes it stands still in a magical beauty, dissolving in a mysterious greenish-silvery mist of his “Mist and Silence" (1997), then it phosphoresces in a soft lavender and pearl lace of frost in the "Kyiv Pechersk Lavra" (2002), it shines with yellow-orange flashes of the "Sunset" (1997), and is imbued with the rapier sadness of withering nature in the "Autumn Tune" (2000).

Picture: “Monastery Island Cathedral”

However, apart from the specific landscape motifs, captured by the artist, one can say that the main theme and the story of his paintings is the sky and the earth. Notably, the sky has fascinated him so much that the artist confessedly "elaborates" it in the first place. It sets the pace for the overall emotional tone, now sad and melodic in the "Quiet Evening" (2000), then majestic and calm in the "Morning Tune" (2001), or elegiac enlightened in the "Monastery Island Cathedral" (2000).

Curiously, Korkishko’s landscapes are quite modern with all its traditional realistic full-scale shape. This modernity is explained not so much by the way of painting, rather by a completely new vision of the world, inherent in the XXI century artist, seeing the earth as if it has shrunk up in size.

It's all in plain sight, instantly recognizable, vulnerable and elegant in its passing beauty. Man and nature are reversed. The modern artist, even if he is vulnerable to nostalgia, would hardly create landscapes in the epic Levitan style like "Eternal Rest" or "Quiet Abode". That would have been obvious "replica" because today "adobe" is already sought by a few islands of the once-powerful nature.

Picture: “Floodland”

The artist is exceptionally hard-working and persistent in the work and all the time complicates the tasks when searching for expression. A technique for each landscape is determined by the theme content. For example, when highlighting the grandeur of the church, its dominant in the urban landscape, the artist lets the viewer see the bird's eye panorama (the Holy Church of the Intercession, 2002), revealing not only the architectural scale of the church structure but also its powerful aura in the surrounding area.

Another house of worship painting, acquires mysterious “cosmic” features in the parable painting "Old Monastery" as if ascended to heaven from the busy world. In situ observations are metaphorically saturated and transformed by the author's imagination.

Along with painting, Vasyl Korkishko continues to pay tribute to his students' penchant for graphics, as the first delight in the beauty and complexity of the universe for him, the direct mouthpiece of his reflections on life, and emotional contact with it. His drawings are always scaled-down, muted, and require psychological "stop" for thoughtful and deep insight ("Autumn has Come", 1988. "Wind", 1989).

Vasyl Korkishko can sometimes be accused of over-aestheticization of his landscapes, but he believes that "the art should be elegant". And it is difficult not to agree with him. Only genuine faith in himself, in his conception of life brings up that self-esteem degree in the artist, which does not allow to turn backward from his principles in the art, and inspires for new searches.

It is said that our time is extremely rapid and dynamic, it rarely allows a person to scrutinize the beauty of the surrounding world. Speaking the language of painting, Vasyl Korkishko gives this opportunity by "stopping a great moment”.

  Fine Art Expert  Written by L.V.Tverskaya