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Painting. Graphic Art. Object

11 October - 19 November 2007
Benois Wing

The unfathomable creative harmony makes the duet of Irina and Yury Gretsky highly attractive. They seem to be two different elements, existing in an inseparable confrontation of tempera-ments and points of view, though, mutually accordant when it concerns creation of a certain work of art. The images, embodied in their paintings and watercolours, are full of symbolism, connected with real experience and, nevertheless, possessing an equal literary and philosophic tinge. The beginning of Irina and Yury Gretsky's creative path concurred with partial validation of 'informal' art. Like many other artists of their generation they plunged into the atmosphere of venturous experimenting. Back then, in the 1970s their nonfigurative compositions and scenes depicting theatricalised reality revealed their attempts to escape everydayness. They 'escaped' and came back again: they fell in love with the beauty of northern nature, visited the sacred sites, and once traveled along the river Enisey driven by the childhood memories. The images emerged from the succession of impressions. The Travellers (1992) symbolic composition is perceived like a creative self-portrait of Irina and Yury Gretsky. The artists created most of their works outside their St Petersburg studio, in close proximity to the source of inspiration. Balaam, Olo-nets area, the village of Imochenitsy which has become the artists' second home, the Vodloozero Preserve are the promised lands for the Gretskys. It was there where the artists were lucky enough to approach the perception of the meaning and harmony of life. The closeness to nature, and northern nature in particular, originates a keen space sense. Irina and Yury Gretsky are, by far, not the first ones 'to be enchanted by the skies'. The outer space devoid of minor contradic-tions and ruled by the laws of the universe only could have, possibly, reconciled the artists with the environment. Their Cosmos incorporates ancient history, northern nature with the inherent symbolism the artists so much sought for, their thoughts and sentiments with a pronounced reli-gious feeling, which came lately. The works by Irina and Yury Gretsky lack any subject in its classical sense. Their canvases are painterly parables sometimes resembling dreams and, never-theless, easily interpreted by the viewer. Touch (1992) is one of the best works by Irina and Yury Gretsky. This epigraphic canvas reveals a delicate balance between an abstract thought and human emotional experience, a confluence of age-long traditions and active creative quests.