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Revaz Kvaratskhelia

Mikhail German, D.A., Member of the Humanities Academy, Member of AICA:
“Revaz Kvaratskhelia is a very young artist. Yet he is far from being a novice in the art of painting.” His works are easily recognizable. His professional maturity, his finished style , his inherent taste are qualities seldom met today, especially among the young. Revaz first exhibited his paintings as a fifteen-year old student of Sukhumi Art College; two years later they were on show in Italy. He grew up in the family of a painter, and the beauty and visual expressiveness of the surrounding world came as a natural revelation to him in his early childhood. The counsel and example of his father, an excellent painter, as well as the classes in the renowned Sukhumi Art College, a taste for perfected mastery and an ability to achieve the mastery – all contributed to an early formation of the young painter. When, in 1998, he graduated from a university Art Department he was an accomplished professional. There is a quality about Revaz Kvaratskhelia’s art which is seldom mentioned when painting is discussed. It is a sense of light festive merriment, arising first and foremost from the artist’s skill at using the linear and chromatic capacities of painting for the creation of a strikingly dynamic theatrical and joyous rhythmic. The figures in his pictures, whether male or female (charming ladies – as is to be expected- are his favourite o bjects) radiate the joy of life, a bit theatrical, a bit imaginary, a bit unreal. They might seem excessively, overly beautiful, but for the ever present irony which is inherent to all his canvases. The irony, not so much pertaining to his characters, as to the world the artist creates – the ephemeral, toy, carnival world, where everything is too harmonious, too beautiful to be true. This very “surplus”, deliberately stressed by the artist, creates a weird melancholy sensation – the joyous world is for the art alone. Something reminiscent of François Villon’s “Laughter through tears”. One wouldn’t want to dramatize Kvaratskhelia’s art, yet it cannot be regarded as undramatic. Giving its due to the “glamourous” invading our daily life, neither condemning nor admiring it, he is capable of discerning the life intrinsic charm behind the vain attraction of the tinsel The task is not an easy one. “Glamorous life”, set apart from deep passions and true suffering has its own attractions, and at the same time it is primitive. Our painter sees the synthesis of the deep and superficial, he can see through the surface, discerning in the spiritual life of his characters both the lacquer of the surface and the deeps of aspirations, doubts, and reminiscences. All this is reflected in a syncretic echo of the sober richness of the texture, the exquisite elegance of the strokes. There seems to be something of Chagall in him. Sometimes it is impossible (and maybe unnecessary!) to understand which of the people in the pictures are real, which ones – imaginary; whether what we see is the past or the present, whether the world around them is imaginary or real. Here is the “Morning Walk” (2001, private collection) – a young couple (the young girl may be just an image in the youth’s dream), an old man descending from a porch, a boat swinging in the ring of the semi crescent melting away in the morning light, star-like flowers breaking into blossom in the morning air. Objects and people in Kvaratskhelia’s paintings exist in what sometimes looks like a weird somnolent and at the same time happy stupor, in the realm of Fata Morgana, in an abode of blending mirages from various time and space dimensions. How far from the vain and tawdry existence is another picture the “Boat, Moon and Woman” painted in the same 2001 (private collection). An unsophisticated viewer will see just an ordinary everyday scene – a house on the seashore, a slight female figure, a semi crescent in the sky, a flower, bright patches of washing on a line. Yet, there is much more to it – a mysterious taciturnity of the objects and the Man, very much apart, so to say, oblivious of one another, aloof. At the same time the eloquent and exquisite fragments of reality are joined together not so much by the general subject, or motive, or direct action, but solely by the emotional atmosphere (the stretched in time aspiration to eternal life), and most important – by the perfectly calculated composition, an excellent formal solution, when according to Aristotle’s ancient formula, the artist aspires to create a work where there are no voids and no excesses, to which nothing can be added and from which nothing can be detracted. Revaz Kvaratskhelia succeeds in creating pictures where everything is premeditated and harmonized, no matter how undesigned it may seem, from minor details to the general decorative effect. There is perfect correlation between the outlines of the details and the lines which intertwine forming a single structure, strong and resilient, ingrained in the matter of the painting. The parts of the whole acquire a new, artistic, not just scenic unity. The paradoxicality and audacity of the plastic devices, demonstrated by Revaz Kvaratskhelia’s collages do not come as surprises. The light (luminous) harmony of his portraits and the lyrical, almost fairy-tale scenes seem to demand some contrast, dramatic equilibrium within the range of his artistic quest. The very principle of collage based on bold and even aggressive contrasts, known since the time of cubism, presupposes risky, intentionally disharmonious, provoking counter position of the textures, rhythms and topics. Here Kvaratskhelia boldly introduces a refined compositional system and finesse of deliberate lines into the context of his post modernistic conceptual quest. Beyond the general decorative effect, characteristic of the artist – bright and festive – there is revealed a chain of complex dramatic associations, the gate to the realm of visual memory, to what we call iconosphere is flung open. In his collages one comes across images of classical art, the echo of mass media, aggressive shards of mass culture, symbols, bits of texts. Fortunately, like in his canvasses, all this is joined by deliberately interlaced lines, the accuracy of hues and tinges, an excellent ability to retain the visual surface, without destroying it by an illusion of three-dimensional effect. Even a short review of the master’s work would not be complete without mentioning one of his qualities, so regretfully rare nowadays. Revaz Kvaratskhelia is a very good draftsman. His line is energetic, precise and resilient, it can be light or, on the contrary – thick and powerful, “muscular”, or it can melt away into the white of the paper. Yes, this young artist has a style of his own, his own theme and his own handwriting. And the best part of his life is still ahead. I believe the master will find himself and reveal to the viewer absolutely new images,

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I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
I.B.Clark Gallery
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