Ruslan Korostenskij


The review of Ruslan Korostenskij’s paintings from the Forum Project by Igoris Piekuras, October 1997. It should be noted that all of the paintings from the Forum Project are held by the artist in his personal collection:
…Any established artist once experiences the beginning. This beginning is frequently accompanied by all sorts of difficulties, yet always by anticipation and strife to succeed. Whichever is stronger, depends on the personality of the artist.
The Young Artists Forum, which finished its work in Zaporizzhia (Ukraine) last month, revealed an emerging gemstone in the Ukrainian painting world. Ruslan Korostenskij was unanimously acknowledged the most expressive and promising artist, and his skill and passion about art should reserve a place for his name to be placed among recognized artists of Ukraine and beyond.
The Forum featured several works of the artist, most of which were still lifes, performed in an irreproachable academic technique yet expressive enough to preserve the author’s individuality. All still lifes can be characterized as bearing an air of solemnity, self-assured posture, inviting the viewer to immerse into a semi-meditative state to contemplate the depth of colour, continuity of images and transcendental volume. The works look monolith; following classical painting tradition, the artist takes care of not to disrupt the emotion by a careless stroke. Korostenskij seems to incorporate every detail which only contributes to the feeling of the completeness of the work. His still-life “Soft Day” (1989), performed in watercolours, turns a daily image into poetic representation by scrupulous attention not merely to the shape and colour, but also the texture of the fruit, applying lightly a tint of white to produce a touch of levity. The effect is purely an impressionistic one.
Despite his success in watercolours, the artist apparently gives preference to oils as evidenced by the number of works performed in this medium. Here the artist again thoroughly considers the materials and applies them in such a way that images embody reservedness and emotional fullness, rest and dynamic energy wave absorbing the painting into one whole. Using contrast as key to his composition and colour in “The Blue Grrapes” (1993), the artist nevertheless creates a harmonious, voluminous portrayal. His work with black is virtuoso. The effect produced is very masculine, yet sensual, lacking any roughness. One nearly feels placed in a darkened hall-room of an age-old mansion. In this relatively recent work the artist as if summarizes his experience he gained in studying paintings done in realist style.
Several words have to be mentioned about a still different artist’s technique. The “Sicilian Apples” (1990), the largest work to date, stands out of the entire collection both in terms of technique and genre. Korostenskij moves away from realism, but only in order to incorporate more impressionist notes into the painting, skillfully balancing in between. He again, proves his mastery in working with shades of colour. The painting is very dynamic, even stormy, sustained only by the central image, apples, composed in a way somewhat reminiscent of a bunch of grapes. The artist does not spare temperament and applies strong, powerful strokes of varying length and directed so as to create an impression of a restless, fitful wind. Technically the work is different, it is no longer stifled by the starched academicism, and suddenly one understands that this is perhaps the new dimension the artist has discovered for himself.
This Forum has given us a talented artist whose work, it is hoped, will continue to explore the infinite possibilities of paint.