The Ukrainian Institute of America in cooperation with the Voloshyn Gallery (Kyiv, Ukraine) presents a solo exhibition of Mikhailo Deyak: Recent works, displaying the artist’s paintings, bas-reliefs and metal objects created over the past few years. The exposition will present more than twenty works from the series Space, Chairs, Rain, Genesis, Klitschko Brothers Emotions. The exhibition is curated by Walter Hoydysh, Max and Julia Voloshyn.
It's the first Mikhailo Deyak's solo exhibition in the USA. The project curator and director Walter Hoydysh (The Ukrainian Institute of America) highlights, “The cumulative impact of Mykhailo Deyak’s work makes singling out a representative example problematic. What should be considered to be more characteristic of his practice — an expressionist character study, a quasi-sculptural play on shapes’ structural conventions, or near figureless horizons breaching the bounds of infinity? How to present and explain such an enigma to a reluctant public — in a convincing manner — is the curator’s challenge, and more to the point, a risk I confront when considering new creative production to exhibit, arguing for its current cultural relevance.” At the exhibition you will see a series of abstract sculptures from Genesis cycle, the artist has been working on for the last year. Genesis is a kind of means for self-understanding that enables its viewers to reflect on some of the questions on the foundations of the Universe. As the author notes, "Genesis is a creation of something. The metal objects that you can see now may be your portrait, or an interpretation of a given situation, transmitted through the prism of my artistic perception. Going through my attitude, the surrounding world becomes strange and bizarre." And indeed, we can also see something vegetal in the outlines of so-called Flowers, but these flowers are more "cosmic", colder, and the bends of metal textures and mirrored surfaces are a mark of our time – rapid, technological and Hi-Tech. Alternatively, we can associate them with the Big Bang, which is the basis of physical and cosmological theory of the Universe evolution. Such versatility of the interpretation of these works is close to everyone, because who has not been thinking about the incomprehensibility of life origins? The artist's works provoke and ask questions, and the viewers find the answers on their own depending on their world view and perception. Bas-reliefs Water from the Genesis cycle are also made of metal and depict the water masses. As if frozen for a second, the waves in metal are sometimes turbulent, sometimes calm, azure blue or deep black. As soon as the audience begins to move past, the "water" comes to life by changing the hotspots and reflections, reflected on the surface.
The exhibition also introduces the works from the Space series. They are mostly minimalist landscapes, but in some places staffage can be found – human figures that further emphasize the grandeur and scale of the landscape. A characteristic feature of this series is the horizon line situated very low in some places, highlighting the depth and immensity of the horizon, and in other works, on the contrary, monumental and silent slopes and hills push a piece of the sky to the very edge of the graphic surface. And sometimes the sky is blurred and not clear, but the author avoids the foreground everywhere, trying to express that way the extent and vastness of the landscape. Most of the works from the Space, as well as the Rain series are painted on glass. It's no coincidence the artist chose this material – he spent his childhood in the Carpathians region, where the area has been for centuries famous for the originality and abundance of rare artistic techniques such as glass iconography. Perhaps all this is reflected in the author's subconscious – hence the craving for such experiments. Complex but clean and direct color in combination with the glass surface gives a feeling of great depth.
Three paintings from the Klitschko Brothers Emotions project depict the champions’ inner feelings and emotions. Deyak writes a story about the Klitschko brothers, whom he admired since his childhood. On the canvas he embodies the fighters’ psychology, the boxers’ internal energy and deep anxiety on their way to success. The artist compares life with a boxing ring and turns his canvas into the ring. Deyak notes that he perceived the process of creating this series as a fight with himself.
Mikhailo Deyak represents the younger generation of contemporary Ukrainian artists. He works at the intersection of neo-expressionism and minimalism, experiments with materials. The artist is intensively engaged in exhibition activities, and his works are sold at auctions. In 2013, Mykhailo enjoyed his first international success, when his painting "The Stools" was in the top ten of the most valuable paintings of Ukrainian artists, whose works have been for over a year in public sale. According to Art investment magazine, Mykhailo Deyak has become listed in the top-20 of young contemporary artists of the CIS. Deyak's success and popularity on the global stage are continuing to grow. In 2015, a painting made on a glass piece, one of his Stools series, was purchased at the mentioned auction for $16 000. This sale passed the top estimate and became the highest one Mykhailo has ever experienced at Phillips auction. At the end of 2014, the painting from his series Klitschko Brothers Emotions was sold at the same auction for $11 800. In 2016, Mykhailo Deyak’s individual exhibition was presented at the international art-fair SCOPE Basel featuring two series of works from "Genesis" and "Space" cycles, and the artist participated at Scope Miami Beach representing Voloshyn Gallery. Mykhailo Deyak lives and works in Kyiv.
The Ukrainian Institute of America is located in a unique historical place in the heart of New York City, near the famous Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue, in a house called Fletcher-Sinclair Mansion and is one of the top 10 most beautiful villas of the city, with its windows overlooking the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park. The cultural Institution of Ukrainians in the United States was founded in 1948 by a Ukrainian inventor, businessman and philanthropist Vladimir Juice, who purchased the mansion for this purpose in 1955.