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Article of prof.V. S. Manin, "Looking into Andry Dubov’s arts"

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  • Published: Sunday, 27 December 2015 17:33
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Looking into Andry Dubov’s arts

Looking into Andry Dubov’s art, first a few words about terminology should be said. It has become common recently to speak about constructing the space. Once a young sculptor led me up to his indoor sculpture depicting a man with legs apart, and started telling me how difficult it had been for him to create the space between his legs. I told him that there was no space there. He asked me in surprise: “So what is it then?” I explained to him that it was the distance between the left and the right leg.
Some articles on Dubov’s art also treat the issue of constructing the space. We should object and state that Dubov’s space is quite traditional – not constructed, but coming from real life, and this is good. All the more so, as a series of his still lifes, interiors, as well as landscapes are not constructed at all, they are natural and artistically meaningful – and that is the most important aspect. In still lifes, as a particular genre, where, besides the embodiment of beauty, you see its social appurtenance, in Dubov’s works a different accent is laid - on the sculpturesque distinctness of the still life. The choice of objects is quite peculiar, compositions are made of objects belonging to the daily routine, or sometimes those customarily used in artistic practice. In any case, this sets the artist special goals, and Dubov brings them to reality brilliantly.

Another work cycle is devoted to the beauty of objects, in which you can observe the originality of everyday life, and where the beauty of the artistic approach, its preciseness and harmony is also clearly seen. Very often both types of beauty are combined. Still lifes have always had set-up nature. Dubov follows this principle as well and brings it to greater sophistication, making his artistic challenge even more complicated. He puts objects together, refusing to follow the laws of composition, traditional for the genre of still life. The works “Evening Still Life” (1993) and “Still Life with Figures” (1994) are examples of that. The same approach to depicting objects is used in similar works: “Still Life with a Figure” (2007), “Still Life with a Plaster Head and a Roll” (1980). In the last-named work you can see very clearly how the artist depicts objects. You can notice the immediate application of paints, revealing the artist’s independent style.

In the genre of still life the arrangement of objects is almost always intentional, and the selection of objects has its meaning as well. In the above-described world of objects accent is laid on compositional diversity. But in other still lifes another version materializes: “Still Life with a Water-melon” (2003), “Still Life with Fruit” (2004), “Still Life with Flowers and Fruit” (2007), “Still Life with Bottles and Fruit” (2010), “Ikebana” (2001), “Still Life with a Box, a Roll and Flowers” (2004), “Still Life in the Cupboard” (1984), “Still Life in the Studio” (1994), “Still Life with Roses” (1999), “Still Life with a White Teapot” (2003), “Still Life on a Chair” (2009) and others, - different challenges are faced here. Besides compositional and artistic peculiarities, they clearly reflect people’s way of life, their life habits, the diversity of life. This note is the more accented in the works combining still life with interior or made in the genre of interior only: “Interior of the Studio” (1990), “Interior of the Studio” (2003), “Still Life on the Cupboard” (1994), “Window” (1994), “Interior” (1996), “Interior of the Studio” (2009), “Window” (1995), “Interior of the Studio” (2007), “Window” (1991), “Interior of the Studio” (1997), “Interior of the Studio” (2003) and others.

An outstanding Russian art expert Fyodorov-Dadydov once expressed his opinion about the still life approach to the landscape. This observation fully relates to A.Dubov’s work “Rainy Day” (2000), where the intertwinement of trees in the foreground expresses the meaning of the landscape as a whole. This approach is not rare in the artist’s work. In a way the opposite train of thought characterizes the painting “Bouquet in the Garden” (1999). According to its title, it is a still life, but it is painted against the background of a landscape that is also very meaningful for the painting. Dubov’s art is clearly unique. The same can be said about the works: “On the Garden-Bed” (1998), “Peonies” (2001) and especially “At the Country House” (2000), where in the foreground we see intricate trees, and at the background – a painted scene.
The artistic approach in one of the works - “Interior of the Studio” (2003) - has a dramatic meaning. Other works, abounding in objects, mirror the lives of people living in these interiors. In most cases it is a reflection of the artist’s life. In every work you feel the harmony of colour, the laws of colouristics carefully followed.
Landscape is an important component of A.Dubov’s art. First and foremost, it must be mentioned that his approach to the landscape always has an unexpected angle. Even habitual representation of churches is made – like in the painting “A Small Yard in Plyos” (2010) – from the perspective of the litter-filled yard. Similarly - in the painting “Church of Resurrection in Kadashi” (2000). This unexpected view of objects reflects the artist’s search for the truth of life.

The same can be said about other landscapes. Few artists have depicted or now depict backyards, but A.Dubov has an interest in them: “Blue House” (1996), “A Small Yard, Pereslavl-Zalesskiy” (1998) and others. A certain intimacy of meaning is felt in the motives of these works, dressed in scanty, yet precise and modest artistic form. Churches, even well-known architectural monuments are shown in their natural state, authentic, sometimes even ordinary, yet truthful: “Suzdal” (2007), “Davyd’s Hermitage” (2007). Views of the city are depicted in a natural and true-to-life way. The composition is seen from above, a rare approach in art. Gloomy, even dramatic mood comes to the fore: “Winter” (1999), “Kutaisi” (1997), “Gurzuf in Winter” (1990), “Gurzuf Landscape” (1990).
You can write endlessly about A.Dubov’s landscapes, each one of them is special, the topics are very diverse. The artist often choses ordinary views, but they are equally interesting, as the images in such works are intriguing in their meaning. Such are “Gurzuf” (1989), “Houses” (1999), “Pereslavl-Zalesskiy” (1997), “Tot’ma” (1994) and others. Not only the image and the way it is depicted, but also the artist’s mood becomes important in these examples.
Moscow is present in Dubov’s works in two lines: Moscow streets and Moscow yards. The first kind includes paintings “Yauza” (1998) and “Arbat” (1998). Both landscapes very precisely convey the character of the streets and the mood created by them. It is accomplished through the artistry of the approach. There is truth in it, with nothing to be added or removed. In the “Moscow Yard” (2001) an unexpected image is taken – the backyards. The author’s mood is felt in it, which gives a special meaning to the landscape.
A.Dubov’s works abound in landscapes and each of them carries a particular mood and meaning. It is difficult to describe everything, so we will focus on some of them. “Landscape with a Church. Plyos” (2003) reminds us of Russian XIX century artists’ works on the same subject, so Dubov’s landscape acquires a classical tinge. Another work, “Rainy Day in Plyos” (2010) is very unusual: houses are immersed in water, probably during a flood. The charm of this small town, so well-loved by the artists of the past, is again conveyed in a near-classical way. Dubov never neglects traditions, they surface in his other works as well. Nowhere and never in a landscape would Dubov “construct” the space, and this is the reason why his landscapes are always so natural, with no falseness or meaningless pandering to anything.


Russian landscapes are often characterized by images of the deep forest and a road running afar. Dubov follows this tradition, but he also brings a lot of novelties into the landscape. He livens it up with a presence of man. Such are the works: “Astafievo Manor” (2004) where the landscape is combined with the mansion and “Landscape with Trees” (2005) where the house is surrounded by trees and high grass. This line can also be traced in the paintings “Landscape with Trees” (2002), “Landscape with a Church” (1993) and others. Winter landscapes “Winter Garden” (1997) and “Winter” (1999) are quite remarkable. The colours in the artistic lineup are fairly laconic: white comes against the dark background (houses and trees), which gives expression to the painting. The drawling touch is expressly careless, yet it strongly helps reflect the chosen image. Among A.Dubov’s landscapes these works are some of the best.
The painting “The Road” (1999) is a typical Russian landscape with a wet, marshy road and a stack of hay in the far end of the meadow. The landscape “Winter Road” (1997) is very expressive. Its expression is in the artistic approach, including an abrupt turn of the road and longish mixed-colour brushstrokes. You can also mention here the spacious “Volga Landscape” (2007). The image in the painting is authentically Russian, continuing the landscape art tradition of the first half of the XX century.
A big work cycle relates to Dubov’s trips to Sweden, Montenegro and Serbia. In all of his works the artist stresses the landscape peculiarities of every country, which makes them so significant.

It has already been mentioned that everyday life is present in landscapes and in still lifes, but what is fully devoted to it is genre art. Two of Dubov’s works are dedicated to it: “Market” (2003) and “Dinamo Skating-Rink” (2001). In the last one the movements of characters become relative, the painting doesn’t easily fit genre art in meaning; however, it is not the author’s fault, but rather limitations of the genre.
In Dubov’s paintings landscape often comes in contact with other genres. But the leading one is landscape itself, in it the artist reveals his originality and the thirst for searching for new expressive solutions. Dubov is the artist of new times, so you believe that he will yet create an abundance of original images.



Doctor of Art Criticism

Галерея работ Андрея Игоревича Дубова: