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Yuriy and Valentina Kozyar

Yuriy and Valentina Kozyar

The works of the Kozyar couple represent a powerful and pure stream of the Ukrainian painting school. Their works exhibit the expression and audacious use of the color characteristic of this tradition, and at the same time the harmony, the overwhelming originality and distinctive creative ego strongly felt in their painting do not leave the beholder indifferent. Since they were young, Valentina and Yurii Kozyar have been developing as artists under the mutually enriching influence. Their works are the rarest example of a harmonious merging of two individual methods into one mighty artistic power.

The paintings by the Kozyars can be divided into three groups, as the stages of the consistent codification of reality. In this connection it is interesting to draw a parallel with the scale accepted by V.Kandinsky, which also has three levels of moving away from the initial impulse (from the subject): impressions, improvisations, compositions.

The first large group of Kozyars' works includes landscapes, directly impressed by the beauty of southern nature. The most characterizing features of these works are impression and expression. Quite often they are views of fleecy clouds spread out by the wind across the smooth surface of the sky which carry the beholder's gaze far away, to the horizon (in the works "Autumn slush", "Time of silence"). This boundless sky is already self-sufficient in its eternal rest, all-embracing serenity and grandeur. However, the earths firmness counterbalances it, brings in a note of real life and creates a foothold in this whirl, in this endless circulation of nature. And yet, the branchy mournfully declined trees, the soil breathing in the air of life manage to give support to the general artistic conception of weightless lightness of nature. Silent smooth surface of the water listens to the sky and serves as its continuation. Nature is shrouded in a fantastic veil. The painters use an effect of a dream in their landscapes, where the light mist connects three elements - air, water and earth (in such works as "After Rain". "Silver Morning"). Warm sunlight, just heralding a new day or, conversely, illuminating it with the last rays, brings in a harmonious, all-penetrating and life-giving element in these views. Soft pastel tints are characteristic of this group of paintings, as well as an active introduction of the so called "NEAPOLITANIC" hues of yellow and orange ("Dawn", "Morning of July"). A spot of paint, often laid on with a palette knife, spreads smoothly across the surface of the canvas, thickness appearing only on the edges.

The second group of pictures is composed of landscapes and the still- lifes built on the bold combination of saturated colours laid down with broad strokes. Here belong such canvases as "Warm day", "Flowers and the sun", "Autumn motif", "Blossoming field", "Warm evening" etc. If the first stage of transmitting the reality (the landscapes of the first group) can be compared with the impressionist stage in the art history, this second group sooner corresponds to the post-impressionist period. In works done in this manner it is possible to distinguish some traits of Cezannes painting, so popular in the Russian art of the 1910s. The picture "Midday" is executed in the traditions of the Armenian school of painting, Sarian's in particular. In these canvases, the painters do not aim to soften transitions of tone and colour, the shapes are made purposely sharp. The graphical element tend to predominate, the shape divides, and is now a kaleidoscopof of bright spots; the tints become warmer. However, open colour and contrast are the main distinguishing features of this second group.

The third stage of moving away from the reality is represented by compositions, in which the meaning of one or other concept is hidden in more or less semantically codified elements. In them one can notice that the graphic element becomes even stronger than it is in the second group, the scenes and colour are more decorative. Examples are such works as "Spring", "Meditation", "The forgotten shadow" "Song without a sound" etc. The most symbolic of these works in the manner of execution stand close to the Modern style ("Wight night"). Other works of this series are inhabited by small heroes with grotesque traits and non childish eyes, playing the real life. For instance, in the pictures: "Little prince", "Hunting", "Illusion", "Imagination" etc. These thoughtful and melancholic eyes serve as active transmitters of the authors' ideas, there is the whole semantic depth in them. The painters express an idea through a play. In these works the symbolism of colour becomes saturated, the light and air space begins to appear as a self-significant element of the work.

It is difficult to imagine that the same creative person can be proficient in so diverse subject tendencies of painting. The painters Valentina and Yurii Kozyar prove by their own example that really talented people are able to cope successfully with experiments of any difficulty. Their brush always stays recognizable, but their fantasy and the manner of painting never stop in the development.

Ekaterina Goudze

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