Mykola Zhuravel preview exhibition of works for Venice Biennale 2011, Church of San Stae

Mykola Zhuravel breaks the boundaries between painting, sculpture, performance and installation art by turning to nature to create thriving monuments to man's links to the Earth. He searches for compatibility between Earth and mankind, while pointedly making reference to the obstacles that human beings have placed in the way of a harmonious existence. Zhuravel's ambitious style results in a remarkable series of living images of a visionary utopia, ranging from his beehive sculptures to his thought provoking paintings. Born into a family of beekeepers, Zhuravel incorporates elements and products of beekeeping with traditional media into his work. He  uses honey, beeswax, and the actual beehive itself, along with other unusual media, such as tea and wine to create unique works of art. The exquisite conceptual works present a deeply affecting array of images based on the age-old practice of nurturing honeybees. Equally striking are Zhuravel's paintings. By using levkas, a traditional primer employed by icon painters, Zhuravel unites the legacies of Byzantine and Rus icon painting with his contemporary painterly technique. This results in richly vibrant and inventive contemporary works that emerge as modern-day icons.

Zhuravel was born in 1960 in Ukraine, and in 1989 graduated from the prestigious Kyiv State Arts Institute (now the Ukrainian National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture). He has exhibited widely in Ukraine, Russia, Switzerland, Japan, and the United States. An active participant in the events of Ukraine's democratic Orange Revolution of 2004, he currently resides in Kyiv.

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