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Art of Maria Kazanskaya
When spring comes the patterns of the weather shift, and long before the temperature has truly warmed, it is the shift of the wind, bringing fresh new air from warmer climes which one hears, feels, smells and tastes. So it is in art, before the truth of a stylistic revolution is wrought, it is the change in attitudes, dogmas and outlook that is most important. The old obsessions are simply no longer present, and it is clear that artists and those who intertwine art with their lives are thinking about new things and new ways of presenting them.
With painting the 19th century began with painting as a means of expressing that which was seen, unseen and felt. However the mid-century move towards more social, more cohesive and more establishmentarian art turned away from the path blazed by David, Delacriox, Goya, and Friedrich, and instead sought absolute depiction. From phantasmagoric and inner soulscape - the officially approved style was one of representational realism. Realism has sustained a century and a quarter assault, indeed longer than the idea of art as representational in any literal sense held sway by a full 75 years. Salon art produced many striking scenes, the landscape artists of the Barbizon school still have the power to startle us into recognition, and many of the portraits that they produced are still viable works of art. So great was the rush to sweep "representational" art into the dustbin of history, that many painters who were doing no such thing were labeled as mere steps towards representational painting, simply so that the abstract artist could justify himself as pushing aside all of a dead artistic history. Such is the nature of propaganda in art. But the art which was being defended by this simplified view of history is established, it hangs in our galleries, we see it, try and understand it and appreciate it. It is no detraction from vanGogh to say that there were other painters moving towards a kind of abstraction before him, nor is it slighting the genius of Picasso or Cezanne in the slightest to point out the precedence for planes of color in the work of the Romantic Painters.
In our own age there has been a movement away from the purely abstract. However most of the representational art suffers from a kind of art-schooledness - an exact following of the rules of pedagogical art - it leaves a sheen on every painting, a stiffness that can only be said to hit the eye like poorly applied acrylic paint. The first demand of an artist in the present tense is to stand out above this cheap sheen of wrote learned artisanship - to produce works where they guide the brush without producing a stiff blockiness which is instantly recognizable. Thus whether realist, representational, symbolic, fantastic or abstract the artist must show that their technique is wielded by a living hand. Until an artist achieves this their work will look conceptual, forced, and as if the small blurb next to it will say more than the art itself does.
When one discovers a painter with control over technique - there is a small moment of rejoicing, the way talking to someone who has read your favorite book and loved it as much as you brings joy. It draws one deeper in so that one can understand what and why. It is for this reason primarily that the art of Maria Kazanskaya (1960- ) attracted my eye and why this essay is written - to set down the unabashed joy at looking at new works - of art. Rather than merely crafts projects which mimic fine art in form without in substance.
Instead of taking on an entire corpus with its strengths and weaknesses - it seemed best to face towards the source of the wind and taste exactly what the future holds from it.
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Art of Maria Kazanskaya