Sergei Smetankin's "imagination" is confusing
Sometimes you come to the exhibition and at first glance you are captivated by feelings. Something persistently enters your soul and a kind of communication with the author begins. It happened at the exhibition "Imagination", which was arranged by a member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine Serhiy Smetankin. It was only then that I learned that the artist had not received a professional education, and on his own he mastered painting step by step.
Dawn in Root said the classic and I began to immerse myself in artistic images that directly touched the most cherished strings of the soul. The retrospective exhibition had its artistic face, which showed that the author has a natural creative vision, successfully places emphasis and creates an oasis of beauty full of life-giving energy. By the way, S. Smetankin entered the Ukrainian record book as an artist who simultaneously presented an exhibition of his own 190 works.
What interests the artist who decided to devote himself to painting at adulthood? First of all, these are artistic images filled with life-giving energy where the unique beauty of the Ukrainian land and unique oases of the universe thrive. It confirms the definite concept of an exhibition that can be shared across several art sites. First of all it is the native industrial-industrial Donetsk region, the land of workers and bright creative personalities who were born here and brought world glory to Ukraine. The cities of Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Svitlovodsk, Mariupol are the original beauty of which the artist shows through landscapes filled with exciting vibrations of nature. Smetankin is trying to create a mood for winter, spring or autumn. In an impulse of inspiration from the beauty seen, the author creates a feast for each of us, filling his paintings with a special major sound.
A whole series of works is dedicated to the holy sites of the Svyatogirsk Historical and Architectural Reserve, which is where the theme "Creative Monuments of the Holy Mountains" was born. The paintings convey a special spiritual state when whole epochs die before the greatness of the Christian heritage.
The creative imagination of Sergiy Smetankin has no boundaries, the artist writes easily, quickly, filling the motives seen with their variations.
To say such words, the author had to storm the knowledge of art education, to build his own creative foundation. He gratefully mentions such powerful personalities as Ivan Basilevsky, Petro Konchalovsky of Slavyansk, Yuriy Savchenko of Donetsk, Galina Chumak, and others who met along the way.
Smetankin's painting is reminiscent of the work of a sculptor, when the artist cuts off everything unnecessarily, gradually providing a work of artistic imagery. One can feel the irrepressible temperament of the author, who is already subconsciously in a hurry to complete his work in the workshop. Thus, S. Smetankin's true artistic achievements are born with beauty and nobility.
The artist successfully manages multifaceted compositions, creating a whole effect on the canvases. The well-placed accents give such works to the organism, and the light-shadow reflections fill the touching painting, which is so reminiscent of the pastoral romanticism of Peter Konchalovsky, the lyricism of Sergei Vasylkivsky, the provincial elegy of Boris Kustodiev, the silver placers.
Some of the works are reminiscent of epic stories in which a person is present, but attention will still be drawn to the natural environment. Be it a modern seaside or a medieval motif with sailboats and boats. Thus, rethinking the history of the culture of one's own people, Smetankin creates a solid foundation for his work. As a successful constructor, he is able to construct a composition so that the accents found have a powerful influence on the viewer. It is enough to pay attention to such works as "Svyatogorsky Perelov", "Khutorok", "View of the monastery", "Winter in the village", "Village", "In the yard". In these motives one can feel the special affinity of the author's soul with the land where he was born, who praises his memories with gratitude, as a prelude to the main theme.
The artist travels the world in search of new experiences, filling his works with philosophical reflections reflecting the beauty of the universe. The series of foreign works by Smetankin is filled not only with wide geography, but also attests to the ability to weed out weeds from true grain. That is why we can not only admire the famous monuments, but also supplement our knowledge of art history around the world. It is enough to pay attention to the motives: "Venice Bridge", "France with Notre Dame Cathedral", "Italian Landscape", "Sunset", "European City" or "Mediterranean". The artist is trying to create a series of essays with yachts, gondolas, temples, the seashore adorned with Mediterranean flowers and trees that reveal the culture of a people.
Incredible warmth is filled with paintings with Crimean landscapes "Balaklava Motive", "Crimeans", "Weekdays in the City", "Crimean Streets". Smetankin successfully communicates his inner excitement with his exquisite palette of blue sky lights, the turquoise waves of the sea breeze, the lightness of the sailboats and the lull of the seagulls. Only the Crimean sun can fill the white walls of houses and red accents on the roof tiles. The artist pays special attention to the mountain slopes on which the resort life is raging in the strange rhythm of cypresses and magnolias….
Still life can be admired at the exhibition, with a sign of the national color of the Ukrainian people. Smetankin fills his paintings with ethnographic elements with painted pitchers, lace, embroidered towels, ancient bottles, items for tea ceremonies, among which glow flowers and sun-soaked fruits. It is enough to name the paintings "Cherry and lemon", "Roosters", "Gift" with daisies or "Still life with persimmon".
The artist thinks that in addition to the creative gift you need to go to school, then you can create your own patterns on a well-regarded professional canvas. Smetankin transforms creative ideas from what he has seen into artistic images, creating his oases of beauty. The pulsating color palette creates picturesque metamorphoses that give the paintings a peculiar charm and uniqueness.
Smetankin affirms the mission of the peacemaker with his chosen topics. And this is indeed true, all the events of recent years in Ukraine, the problems of migrants have touched the artist's heart. And he seeks to show through his art how important peace and tranquility are for the full life of man. This is why his numerous journeys end with a series of works of art with panoramic angles in which a peaceful life filled with celebration and happiness erupts.
S. Smetankin boldly entered the modern art space as an independent harbinger of joy that has something to tell people. The conceptual bar of his works is high enough, full of expressiveness and good accents. Through artistic means, the artist tries to unlock the primordial values and influence the consciousness of people with a cascade of positive emotions.
Valentina Efremova is an art critic, winner of the Paton Biletsky Prize, winner of the Order of St. Martyr Barbara, Honored Worker of Culture of Ukraine.
Photo by Sergey Komissarov