Lauren Wolfer, Curator of Special Collections & Archives
Here’s a sneak peak of FWMoA’s newest oil painting, Warm August, by Ukrainian Denys Gorodnychyi, which you can see in the upcoming exhibit Natural Appeal: Differing Approaches to the Landscape, opening April 22nd!
Denys Gorodnychyi was born in 1984 in Poltava, Ukraine, part of the former Soviet Union. At the age of 15, he was accepted into the Children’s Fine Arts School in Poltava, a selective and specialized education in the arts. After graduating from Poltava National Technical University he pursued his career as an artist, employing a distinct style of plein air to his landscape paintings. His impressionistic style strives to portray scenes without fuss; Gorodnychyi says, “I hardly ever paint figures in my landscapes. I am mostly interested in the state of nature – studying the relationship between color, shape, and harmony. In nature, everything is harmonious. This is the foundation for all of my paintings, which I hope brings life to my work.”
Denys is equally comfortable whether painting at the easel in his studio or outdoors, directly inspired by the beautiful landscapes of his local area: “I don’t believe in distorting the existing harmony of the scene, I try to preserve the laws of nature, but at the same time sensitively adding my personal touch. The desire to exclude everything unimportant and leave only the main theme has become a signature of my art. I have recently had the urge for vast space, and yet I try to paint tranquility and peace. I am not attracted to dynamic or dramatic themes. I don’t want to clutter my work – I want to preserve the clarity and truthfulness of the image.”
Warm August shows the typical nature of the central part of Ukraine; a collective image that reflects the flavor of the Poltava region. The lake is spread among the hills with small forest belts and shrubs, at the foot of which reeds grow. After a hot day, you can feel the freshness on the shore of the lake, hear crickets and evening birds. It is easy to place yourself into the scene on his canvas.
Each painting session is different; sometimes, Gorodnychyi completes a painting in one sitting while others take several sessions. He enjoys working with a palette knife, which produces the thick, ‘pasty’ texture of his work. Denys admires the Old Masters because they delved more into the essence of nature as opposed to it containing a hidden meaning. “It is important not to forget that art is a phenomenon designed to educate a person’s soul, to cultivate the most valuable qualities in a person, such as love, for example. Therefore, artists have a great responsibility; what to release into the world, what to open up to the viewer. This, of course, is only my subjective opinion.”
Gorodnychyi’s painting joins the diverse landscape artworks in the FWMoA permanent collection, both realistic and abstract. On display in an exhibit that highlights the different ways to perceive a landscape, his natural approach is juxtaposed against others, all who pursued a genre that dates back to Ancient Rome. See his painting, along with dozens of others, in Natural Appeal: Differing Approach to the Landscape, opening at FWMoA April 22nd! Slava Ukraini!