Елена Окунева
Life&Art
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Virtual Museum of Contemporary Ukrainian Art: Peter Bevza. “Our path is a search for balance”

Virtual Museum of Contemporary Ukrainian Art: Peter Bevza. "Our path is a search for balance"
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“Liberation from the dilapidated pillars of outdated legend… liberation also from the obstacles of memory, association, nostalgia, and myths that were the techniques of Western European painting,” is how Barnett Newman [1], one of its most prominent representatives, wrote about abstract expressionism. Although there is some doubt that the Ukrainian painter Peter Bevza can be classified as an expressionist, his abstract art is such a liberation.

The established realism, though still in demand among customers wishing, as a rule, to decorate their walls with paintings, is rather seldom of interest in the professional environment. Realism with its copying of reality long ago gave way to photography, bringing feelings, states, message to the first place in painting. It is emotions, experiences and Knowledge that lie at the heart of abstract art, in particular Peter Bevza’s.

 

Virtual Museum of Contemporary Ukrainian Art: Peter Bevza. "Our path is a search for balance"
“Guest IV” 2016

 

However, one should not naively believe that Bevza paints impulsively or expressively. On the contrary, he carefully considers his future paintings, draws sketches, and, for greater accuracy and additional reassurance, photographs his sketches, trusting the digital camera to save his ideas. The artist himself confirms the inevitability of today’s man being in two universes at once.

In one of his many manifestos he writes: “We are balancing between two opposite worlds – the virtual world of information and the environment. Interestingly, this manifesto is more than 15 years old, but back then Peter Bevza anticipated the mass enthusiasm for virtual, augmented reality, predicting a future focus of art on space, its transformation and rethinking.

The artist himself experiments in the field of environmental installations, creating his own spaces or complementing the existing landscape.

 

Virtual Museum of Contemporary Ukrainian Art: Peter Bevza. "Our path is a search for balance"
“Changing Skin”, 2006

 

In general, Peter Bevza seeks balance not only between the virtual and the real, but also in many other aspects, including artistic ones. For example, in his works there are often contrasts, which create a coherent work, skillfully woven into the canvas.

The artist combines opposing colors, uses peculiar techniques to achieve a difference in textures, due to which his paintings become more universal, and art – as if a polyglot, speaking to everyone in a language he understands.

And although the viewer may not think that, for example, this work is inspired by cosmic themes, in particular galaxies, but he will definitely find and see something close and understandable to him.

 

Virtual Museum of Contemporary Ukrainian Art: Peter Bevza. "Our path is a search for balance"
“The Elusive”, 2018

 

Bevza’s exclusive technique is rubbing paint, which makes the already inseparable canvas-oil pair become completely inseparable. In this way, the artist not only achieves the smoothness or roughness he wants, but also continues to study painting in the most practical way possible – by touch. This therapeutic, ritualistic action literally leaves a unique imprint on the artist, his feelings, his moods.

At the same time, the philosophy of art is not alien to Peter Bevza. He is wonderfully well versed in the specialized literature and, moreover, writes himself. In addition to the already mentioned manifestos and presentation of his own views on the situation and problems of contemporary art, Bevza writes analytical responses to the exhibitions that struck him.

For example, he wrote a detailed review of the project “Donbass – Land of Dreams” (2004) by curator Jerzy Onuch and photographer Viktor Maruschenko [3]. In his essay, Piotr Bevza already highlighted the importance of the artist-curator tandem and placed the importance of an apt artistic statement – things that are still unobvious to many.

 

Virtual Museum of Contemporary Ukrainian Art: Peter Bevza. "Our path is a search for balance"
“The Birds of Our Youth. Dedication to Zhanna Ilchenko”, 2013

 

More recently, Peter Bevza published a non-trivial book, which has also become a kind of balance between theory and practice, combining painting, text and audio. In this work the artist reveals a whole host of concepts important to him, explaining them verbally and illustrating them with his own painting. “The artist invites us on a journey through his own semantic paradise, a place where the harmony of signs and symbols, color and line, essence and detail, light and shadow reigns” [4].

“Our path is the search for balance,” Bevza writes in his 2005 manifesto. And it seems that all of his work really coincides with this statement. Moreover, there is a feeling that Peter Bevza manages to feel and convey this harmony in an exquisite, eloquent, painterly way.


Sources:

[1] Barnett Newman’s quote on Abstract Expressionism – The Art Story.

[2] Petr Bevza: Manifesto 2005.

[3] Petr Bevza: Donbas, Onuch, Soros, 2004.

[4] Petr Bevza’s book abstract, 2021

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