Updated: Feb 5
January 22, 2021
The artist is inspired by the traditions of Realism, Impressionism, and Modernism, and a strong presence of the Ukrainian tradition is also noticed. Duzinkevych’s works can be found in the collections of several Ukrainian museums, while his exhibition activity has spread across the United States in recent years.
To find out more about the ways this artist perceives his practice, we asked him a couple of questions he was kind to answer.
Left: Portrait of Miroslav Duzinkevych / Right: Miroslav Duzinkevych - Quartet, 2020. Oil mixed media, 40 x 32 inches
Exploring The Traditional Genres
Widewalls: Between all the genres of your art, that include portraiture, still life, landscape, expressed through painting and drawing, do you have one you prefer? If so, why?
Miroslav Duzinkevych: I really like to draw; I have [liked it] since childhood. As I said before in various interviews, training played a significant role in my life. In the beginning, it was a purely academic school. We can argue about whether today, a person needs to know how to draw, since the development of technology, [and] especially various computer programs, leads to the fact that a computer can do a lot in place of a person. Yes, there is some truth to this.
Still, one of my teachers often told us, the computer will never replace Sandro Botticelli or other great artists. It is my firm belief that if an artist wants to be truly professional, he must simply be able to draw. Pablo Picasso perfectly mastered drawing and the basics of classical art, then he did whatever he wanted.
From the time of my studies to the present day, I tried myself in various genres and styles, but I always loved depicting people the most. At the academy, we had sitters (models), often nude ones.
Another thing is that earlier, the realistic manner was popular, but the style has changed over time, and the works became more stylized and decorative. An artist must necessarily change, which means he is developing.
Widewalls: Your style appears to be very rooted in Modernism. What are your thoughts on the contemporary art production and the more non-traditional themes?
MD: It so happened that my views changed a lot over time. I still love the Old Masters very much. However, living in New York, with its rhythm of life, its architecture, especially in Manhattan, the people themselves, you cannot think and paint as they did one hundred and two hundred years ago. Now there is freedom of thought, do what you want.
Do I like it? If it's interesting and professional, yes, sure. In contemporary art, there are famous artists whose works are often absolutely empty, without the soul or the inner world, I would say, nothing.
Now, thanks to social media, absolutely any person can be promoted. The most crucial task of gallery owners and critics is really to select those who make art.
Widewalls: What about the Russian Wanderers group appeals to you most?
MD: I really liked the "Wanderers" group when I was at school. My favorite was Ilya Repin, a Russian artist of Ukrainian origin, born in eastern Ukraine. He graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy and had an internship in Italy. His portraits and historical paintings, for me, are the highest achievement of mastery in this genre.
Of course, if you take the Russian and Ukrainian avant-garde, such artists as Kazimir Malevich, who taught at the Kyiv Academy of Arts and whose name the Academy now bears, Vasily Kandinsky, Alexander Archipenko - they made a significant contribution to the history of world art.
Left: Miroslav Duzinkevych - Brandy with fruit, 2020. Mixed media, 24 x 20 inches / Right: Miroslav Duzinkevych - Irises. Mixed media, 35 x 27
About The Other Environments
Widewalls: Your oeuvre includes bodies of work like the "Turkish series" and the "Italian series." What do these series depict? How do they come to be?
MD: Before moving to New York, I often participated in international Plein airs, both in Ukraine and Europe.
Italy is my favorite European country. I have been there several times. Its history, museums, landscapes, architecture, design, the Renaissance epoch - all left a mark on the world art. I go there and just enjoy the atmosphere, sun, food. I tried to convey these feelings in the works written during my travels through this beautiful country.
Istanbul was a discovery for me - the largest city in Turkey, it is situated on the shores of the Bosphorus, which divides it into European and Asian parts. The combination of Christian and Muslim religions, Byzantine and Roman cultures, oriental bazaar made this country one of the most interesting in the region. In the summer of 2017, while at the international Plein air in this vibrant city, I was thrilled to paint the Cathedral of St. Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Strait of Gibraltar.
An artist has a unique opportunity to travel the world, study different cultures, and paint pictures at the same time; this combination does not exist in every profession.
Widewalls: I would like to talk about Ukraine since it is your homeland and the place where it all began and developed for you. How would you describe the manner(s) in which the country and its culture, traditions, ways of life influenced your art? How does it compare to your current country, the USA?
MD: Ukraine is the country in which I was born, raised in great love, received an education, fell in love, created a family, taught at the university. This is a country of many talented people in various fields. The incredible beauty of its natural environment, its mountains, sea, steppe, the terrain variety – all of it is practically in the center of Europe.
Its location influenced the diverse palette of its artists. Some like bright, expressive colors, some - more restrained, but I would say the mood is more conservative in general.
The USA is increasingly more diverse. There is so much variety in the art to all tastes. In Ukraine, the Soviet past is still acutely felt. Of course, the young generation wants to live a more modern life like the rest of the world. The two revolutions that took place during the time of independence were not in vain.
Left: Miroslav Duzinkevych - Still life with garlic, 2020. Mixed media, 24 x 20 inches / Right: Miroslav Duzinkevych - Memories. Mixed media, 35 x 27 inches
Widewalls: What is coming up for you in 2021?
MD: In 2021, I look forward to participating in the new art events. A lot is happening at the moment, and I have no time to think about something bad. There are several proposals for new projects, and this makes me very happy.
I have a feeling that I am in the right place and at the right time. I feel that I grow professionally and get to know myself, even more, discovering new strengths and new ideas. I really hope to have a personal exhibition in the near future.
Featured image: Miroslav Duzinkevych - Paradise, 2020. Oil on canvas, 30 x 43 inches. All images courtesy Artios Gallery.
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