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Twenty years ago, in 1966, the premises of the Union of Artists hosted a solo exhibition of Andrey Kovalenko for the fi rst time. At the time, he was nearing completion of his studies at the Odesa Art School. Vibrant and striking paintings off ered a burst of luring and, at the same time, disturbing emotions, as if wondering whether Andrey was up to a challenge to come out of the shadow of his father, a brilliant painter, Yuriy Kovalenko.
Father’s message seems to have been Andrey’s companion throughout the following 20 years. He never stayed in the shadow of his father, but found a tone of his own to talk to the God, while being sure of the subject and way of talking. He used to fall and get back to his feet again, just to proceed on his way with a fi rm tread.
Andrey Kovalenko is a successor of traditions established by the South Russia style. The starting point – living nature and human lifetime. But while Kiriak Kostandi and his fi rst followers turned to the impressionist painting, Andrey Kovalenko is known as expressionist. His illustration sends a powerful sensation of a grotesque created by moving colours splashing off the dense and relief paint layer.
To date, twenty sole exhibitions of Andrey Kovalenko appealed to the audience of Saint-Petersburg, Tallin, Priluki and Odesa. The exhibition was a much-talked subject when we met with him at the Global Odessites Club. One of his phrases sank into my mind: "I am not reinventing the wheel, I am just riding it". I could add that his riding is smooth, relaxed and confi dent.
One more thing from Andrey:
"There is a special bonding I feel with the ancestral land of mine. It gives me the power enabling me to live and create. It is important not to let the nature subdue yourself. My father taught me: You must infuse life into the painting".
And paintings of Andrey Kovalenko are really breathing. They epitomize the code of folklife culture attributing a soul to everything that is natuarally-occurring– every single tree, every single apple, every single child – as part of the universe where proportion reigns.
"I am not reinventing the wheel, I am just riding it".
Dedicated to Andrey Kovalenko
Go. Run. Don’t fall.
Don’t let yourself fall. Let yourself fall.
Get identifi ed in diggings.
Keep away from vicious heavens.
While asleep, awake the rebel.
Talk to the God in everything you do, –
Yuriy Kovalenko 25.03.1996
Painting for Andrey Kovalenko – is a Vivid Letter he sends to all of us, his audience.
A vivid letter addressing the people.
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