The Work of Vladimir Semensky

Vladimir Semensky’s work has a startling immediacy similar to the very best photography, a spirit reflected in his expressive style and compelling subjects.  Born in 1968 the Russian artist creates paintings with a vibrant sense of spontaneous movement and naturalistic, individual gesture.  Dynamic poses and unguarded scenarios characterise his work.  His paintings are large scale canvases and are born of the same spontaneous unique body movements he articulates in his compositions.  The movements of a person are almost eccentric in their singular relation to that person’s personality, surroundings and state of mind.  Semensky describes this with disarming frankness and allows a strangely intimate view that would never be afforded by a photorealistic painting.  This results in a chaotic and exciting sense that is usually absent in static imagery or posed, formal painting.  He captures the transience of things, private fleeting moments that we are usually only sensitive to in those we are closest to.  Facial features are often obscured and, although the specifics of position and circumstance are irrelevant, the manner in which they are painted and the position each subject is described in making is highly revealing and intimate, disclosing aspects of character intrinsic to their identity.  The broad brush strokes and painterly description of flesh and movement has the essence of a memory rather than a factual description.  Brief and bright flashes of colour in muted surroundings add life to his subjects and truth to their depiction.  The vibrant energy of his work both in technique and in focus defies the idealogical constraints of late Modernism or the arbitrary iconoclasm of most abstract or conceptual art.  His work reflects the mood of the event rather than it’s circumstances.  The fact that each composition conveys specific actions and imposes no narrative adds to its fleeting meaning where the act and manner of painting adds substance to this.  Like skipped heartbeats, Semensky’s work captures the instability of the world and questions the ordered convention of the way we present images ordinarily.  He establishes a strange record of reality, an aspect of which we pay little or no attention to as it is happening but which we defiantly cling to when it might disappear.  This makes them uniquely precious and in turn makes Semensky’s work uniquely compelling.

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