Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Color beyond compromise

This autumn Titanikas and Meno Nisa, top Vilnius galleries, will present the artwork by Mykola Bilous, Ukrainian artist
23 September, 2015 - 18:06
ON THE THRESHOLD / Illustration courtesy of TSEKH gallery

The project is named “Color only.” The Lithuanian gallery owners have themselves invited the artist, having been long interested in his work. According to Oleksandr Shchelushchenko, Vilnius exhibitions’ curator, an international expert committee at the Art Vilnius festival recognized Mykola Bilous as the best foreign artist back in 2013. Dr. Raminta Jurenaite, professor at Vilnius Academy, describes the art by Bilous as an appeal to the Western Pop art, as well as to its ironic interpretations in Russian and Ukrainian Socialist art. “However, both the optimism of American Pop artists and the sarcasm of compatriots are not the defining characteristics of Bilous. Compared to the former and the latter, his art is rather melancholic. Bilous retains quite a strong influence of his own artistic generation, of the post-media expression. Despite this, he manages to find his own way in art,” explains Jurenaite.

The art of Mykola Bilous is unique because he has invented an unusual method of harmonizing colors. It amounts to a particular kind of inversion, changing the color according to certain laws. In the beginning, the artist always uses a special base tone, a mixture of the three primary colors       – red, blue, and yellow. The open colors are applied by Bilous in a thin layer and on the complementary principle – the dominant and the additional colors are opposites. The theory behind these laws was developed by the Bauhaus school.

Bilous was born in Kyiv region. He studied in Simferopol, Kharkiv, and the German city of Halle. “I discovered my own method of harmonizing in 2005. Many things came together, my entire visual experience. I used to be fond of documentary photography. I was influenced by formal methods of Delacroix, Duchamp, and Fontana, but also wanted to think out of the box and create my own visual space, combining the sculptural and the optical ones,” says Bilous. “And I am conducting further experiments. Recently, I have introduced white into my paintings: life is getting better. In Ukraine, I am happy about many things.”

The plot does not play a significant role for the artist. Bilous likes to portray some fragments of life, among his topics is a conflict between “him” and “her.” The artist also enjoys photography, and sometimes the idea for his painting comes from a photo. The artist sometimes cites known photographers, cameramen, and directors – such as Dziga Vertov. “To me, the entire art is composed of quotes. The material for my work comes from everywhere,” continues Bilous. “I’m an international artist. And all reasonable people understand me, though they sometimes tend to mistake rudeness or clownery for genuine creativity.” In Kyiv, the artist’s exhibitions are held almost every year at TSEKH gallery. The paintings by Bilous were exhibited in Paris, Moscow, and Vilnius. His works are displayed in urban galleries and private collections across Germany, Italy, Brazil, Austria, Turkey, Lithuania, and the US.

One of Mykola Bilous’ exhibitions is going to be held at the Titanikas hall of the National Academy of Arts, Lithuania. The project will demonstrate the evolution of the artist’s coloring skill and techniques. It will feature the works from previous exhibitions, one piece of artwork from a Latvian private collection, and eight paintings created specifically for the “Color only.” Meno Nisa gallery will show the artist’s sketches. Diana Stomiene and Sonata Bauliuskaite, Lithuanian gallery owners, chose sketches as the exhibition’s theme because they are convinced that the optimal combination of colors has its origins in these works. Thus, these two projects will allow the visitors to compare the initial and the final stages of any particular picture’s creation process.

The exhibitions of artwork by Mykola Bilous will last from September 24 through October 17 at Titanikas and Meno Nisa galleries in Vilnius.

By Maria PROKOPENKO, The Day