Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Art Space Talk: Valery Koroshilov

Art critics have stated that Russian-born Valery Koroshilov has developed his own form of “sophisticated realist painting“. Koroshilov is known for creating powerful paintings that reflect compositional skill combined with strict discipline of color. For the last fifteen years Koroshilov has lived in London-- where he has devoted himself entirely to painting. The artist has stated that he finds great inspiration in the paintings of Old Masters, particularly from the Renaissance.

Valery Koroshilov has two Studios: One is located in North London, and the other is located on the Greek Island of Samos. Koroshilov has been involved with over 100 exhibitions worldwide. Exhbits have included Roy Miles, Albermarle, The Mall Galleries, Westminster Gallery, West-Eleven, Llewellyn Alexander, Royal College of Art, the BOC Covent Garden Festival and Olympia.

Study of a Head, II, Oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm. By Valery Koroshilov

Brian Sherwin: Valery, tell us about your academic background. Did you study art formally? What about influential instructors that you have had? Tell us about your early years as a painter in general.

Valery Koroshilov: I was born in Russia and received an architectural education. I studied in Yekaterinburg, a city in the Southern Urals. The studying was classical, and included drawing, painting, sculpture and the history of art, among other things. Right after graduation in 1984, I began to teach Design Composition at the same school. I then moved to Moscow, where I spent a number of years researching, designing and teaching, and received a PhD in architecture.

I have always been interested and excited about art. I would just draw and paint in whatever free time was available. In 1992, I worked in Amsterdam as a designer for Alberts & Van Huut, who were building very interesting Organic Style structures. It was at that time that I exhibited my artwork publicly for the first time. A small gallery of Arthur Baldinger happened to be literally next door to the house where Rembrandt lived for nearly three decades (it is a museum of his graphic works now). I felt much inspired by this proximity. I regarded my first exhibition a success, there were invitations from three more galleries to show my work. Since then, I began to think of painting as a profession.

In 1994, as a British Council Academic Fellow, I conducted a post-doctoral research at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. We did an interesting project, when the Bartlett students showed their artwork, and the students of the Slade School of Art, showed their work inspired by the architecture. The exchange exhibition took place at the Cloisters of the UCL in 1995, and was curated by Nicola Kalinsky of the College Art Collections, who had just published then a very elegant book on Gainsborough. It is through this project I met the late Euan Uglow, who I now regard as my most influential personal experience.

I was fortunate to have some very helpful instructors at various times, but I also learned a great deal from my fellow students.

The Singer, Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm. By Valery Koroshilov

BS: Tell us about the thoughts behind your art. Can you give our readers some insight into any specific themes that you explore?

VK: I believe the context of a painting only matters if it’s inspired by the poetic intuition, and therefore, it is addressed to the poetic perception. I paint simple objects like fruit and bottles, pots and glasses, quietly interacting. I use them to indicate a certain attitude to the human emotion. I find it most challenging to express the subtleties of the human condition in almost any object around. But when it happens, I find it also most exciting. That is where my inspiration comes from.

BS: Concerning your work with the human figure-- is there a specific message you strive to convey to viewers concerning your art?

VK: In the works concerned with the human figure, I try to explore how much different people have in common with each other, and to recognize and celebrate something good in their lives.
The Dreamer, Oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm. By Valery Koroshilov

BS: What can you tell us about your process in general? Give us some insight into how you work-- as in turning an idea into reality, so to speak? Can you discuss some of the methods that you utilize?

VK: I aim at the elegance and grace, and try to handle the paintwork with utmost subtlety. I consider all my pictures the fragments of one continuous narration. Therefore, the same compositional principles are often used throughout the entire series: larger-than-life scale of objects, high viewpoint, pure color, and semi-abstract background. I paint in oil on canvas or board, working sometimes from life, sometimes from photographs.

BS: What about other influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artists, world events, or art movements?

VK: I have a feeling that the most profound influence comes from the painters of the early Renaissance, Flemish and Italian. Jan van Eyck, Roger van der Weyden, Hans Memling, Fra Angelico, Mantegna, Ghirlandaio. I sometimes copy the fragments from my favorite masters and include them into my own paintings. I suppose it could be considered as a rather cheeky form of Homage. Of the Russian School of the XX century, I very often look at the paintings of Petrov-Vodkin.
Cassandra, Oil on canvas, 91 x 76 cm. By Valery Koroshilov

BS: Where can your art be viewed at this time? Will you be involved with any upcoming exhibits?

VK: Five large new portraits of the ‘Asian’ series are exhibited now on the walls of the London Branch to the Standard Chartered Bank. Also in the City, a few recent paintings are shown at the Accenture, as a part of the Art Loan scheme. Currently I am completing a large private commission in London, which will be published on my blog shortly.

BS: Do you have any concerns about the art world at this? There has been a lot of debate recently about copyright and the rights of artists. Do you have an opinion on issues such as that?

VK: Quite a few images of my work are held by various agencies, such as Getty Images Seattle. In over a decade they have hardly paid me anything. My opinion on that would be based on the following: Mozart taking a stroll in Vienna and bumping into a street musician playing his tunes. I cannot possibly imagine he would object to such unauthorized use of his music.

St. Francis and an Angel, Oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm. By Valery Koroshilov

BS: What about the internet? One could say that the art world is starting to catch up-- more galleries are turning to the World Wide Web in order to further exposure for their artists. How do you think the internet will impact the art world in say-- a decade? Can you see a meshing between the traditional market and alternative (online) markets taking shape?

VK: I don’t buy linen for my paintings in the shops anymore. I buy it on-line. However, if it’s a new fabric for me, I will always phone to ask them first to send me the samples. Then I will look and touch, and think, and try. If I like it, I will then order on-line. I would like to believe, it is going to be the same with the market for unique handmade original artworks.

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the goals that you have?

VK: No, I think I have said enough. Thank you.
You can learn more about Valery Koroshilov by visiting his website-- Koroshilov is currently a member of the community. You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
New York Art Exchange


José Carrilho (Go Detail) said...


From reading this interview, one can infer how the human's nature has an important role on the artist's paintings.
I believe that to trully depict a good portrait, this is a significant factor.

Take care,


Strega said...

Beautiful technical work, I appreciate the attention to detail and color. The flow is amazing. I find I do not connect emotionally to the paintings; but that is more due to me than the paintings.
The interview intrigued me, I am now more curious about the artist and would like to meet him.

In Light,