September 27 - November 4, 2023
The prevailing mood that Andrey Volkov's new exhibition conveys to the audience is that of unexplainable alarm, a gut feeling that something bad is about to happen, but what that might be is not clear. In short, it is what they call in the movies "suspense". Each of us has been living with that feeling over the past few years. It's just our reaction to the uncertainty of the future and the lack of clarity in the present.
In their classic suspense films, Hitchcock, Kubrick, and Lynch harnessed such techniques as dimmed lights, extended dollying-in, rhythmical alternation of close-up shots, and monotonous sounds, like the ticking of a clock, to enhance the viewer's experience of suspense in the run-up to the yet-unknown outcome. Despite their obvious focus on entertainment, these films effectively had the viewer engulfed in a temporality outside ordinary perception. The feeling of suspense was coupled with an experience best described as an "inner pause", in which you meet yourself face to face in an environment riddled with fear.
A master of abstract painting's visual arsenal, Volkov, like a film director, strives to slow the viewer down and enable psycho-physical interaction between the viewer's eyes and the painterly body of his canvas.
Instead of the sharpened emotions of an actor, the artist wields the drama of the color mass. The deep reds, sickly greens, and murky purples split into shades, one moment fighting each other and sending out protuberances to penetrate each other's frontiers, and the next subsiding and merging into gradients.
As his splices, Volkov uses an intricate topography of layers that mutually overlap in long glaze coats. His surfaces can be interpreted through an extensive repertoire of analogies -- from Clifford Still's contrasted palimpsests to the deep tones of Gerhard Richter's more recent creative period.
The palette assumes the role of the dimmed lights of suspense movies: the thick, dark tones are highlighted by contrast with a profusion of deep red, ranging from a sunset to a bloody drama redolent of Hermann Nitsch.
In lieu of dollying in, Volkov uses large-size canvases, magnetizing viewers and shortening the distance between the painted surface and the watching eye that sees no boundaries.
The shimmering depth of Andrey Volkov's paintings concentrates indistinct psychological tension just as powerfully as a scene in a film can. The color mass accumulates within itself the human experience of time, manifesting as a living, spiritual substance.