Dimensions: 29.75 x 13 x 12″
Media: painted wood sculpture
Camouflage is one of the first two wooden sculptural works Igor Melnikov has revealed in recent years. It is a terrifically exciting development in his career, as wooden sculpture was a large part of Melnikov’s early artistic career. This is the first time Melnikov has shown sculptural works that reflect the same subject matter as his paintings–the child as a vessel of both innocence and wisdom.
Russian artist Igor Melnikov is one of the top artists to emerge from the post-Soviet Russian art world. Unlike more opportunistic Russian artists who sought to make artwork that would appeal to the Western art collector, Melnikov has always remained true to his intimate belief in art as a spiritual practice.
Melnikov’s works appear to be figurative painting at first glance, however, he views his work as conceptual art. “For me, these are not portraits of children, but portraits of human souls,” says Melnikov, each being a picture “of a soul immersed in itself, reticent, perplexed, searching for and preserving a hope. If you take the message of this portrait to your heart, it is a portrait of you.”
In images taken from his dreams, he presents the pure human vessel in the form of the nearly expressionless, innocent child. His ability to render the “uncatchable expression on the face,” Melnikov stresses, is “the most important thing … there is an instant when you don’t know whether it is going to be a smile or tears.” It is in this expression where one finds that Melnikov’s works are experienced at an emotional level and deep in the subconscious – one’s emotional response to the work is tied to the innate recognition of a forgotten part of oneself.
Influenced by Vermeer, Wyeth, and Rembrandt, Melnikov grew up fascinated by the descriptions of the essence of light he read about in the art history books of his youth. His paintings at once glow and absorb – he has a meticulous and nuanced sense of light and renders highlight and shadow with exquisite and luminous detail.
Melnikov grew up fairly isolated in Siberia, where his mother was a scientist. His own childhood was spent largely alone, so he views the inner world of the child as the most pure vessel of humanity
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