russian print
CRITIQUE

By his world outlook Vladimir Galatenko is a typical romantic, who, instead of portraying on canvas or on paper various states of the scenery, prefers to transform or generalize them in his own lyrical feelings. His paintings are carefully organized complex structures, which could be described as "visions". This is a sort of artistic idealism, which draws us into a world of colours and forms developing one into another smoothly and almost without notice, into an atmosphere of light and shade, filled not with concrete objects, but rather with their shadows.

The painter, as a rule, does not concentrate on minor details. He regards them as a whole, together with the environment and the air surrounding them. It is beyond doubt that such an approach has some limitations. Following the painter, the onlooker puts himself in a musical frame of mind. It is pleasant to listen to music and not to analyse it. Galatenko is quite satisfied with harmony, which he found in nature and in himself.

Landscapes hold a special place in Galatenko`s work. It would be correct to say that he, as an artist, was formed by landscapes. When portraying scenery, Galatenko continues to be a free interpreter of what he sees, combining specific and general things, the things which really exist and which he himself invented.

Galatenko`s way from those landscapes to decorative and almost abstract paintings. The mobility of lines, spots of light and colour, reaches its apogee in them.

Book drawings feature prominently among Galatenko`s works. The romantic haze that envelops prose works by Grinn and Paustovsky is reflected in Galatenko`s illustration series. Despite the small size of those paintings, they produce the impression of monumental compositions, which can be enlarged and used for the decoration not only of small forms, but also of walls, ceilings and other architectural surfaces. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the creative endeavour of Galatenko is of a universal character, because he takes up not only easel-painting, which is habitaul for him, but also applied monumental art.

Big and small canvases and drawings by Galatenko often feature characters, who fall under the category of "Eternal Femininity." The erotic element is not just levelled down, but softened by the active rhythm of component parts of the work and the overall decoratice pattern. The Two, for example, is made up of four or five scenes and genres. Landscape and still-life are inserted in the interior, and the latter, in its turn, serves as a frame for several portraits. All is non-realistic, all is moving, like in a pleasant dream, which is impossible to retell in the morning.

In his best works Galatenko is a poet of colour and light, a romantic of decorative portrayal, who plunges us into any dreams or mirages, produced by free creative imagination. Without classifying his best works by types, genres, technique, materials etc., and analysing them separately, the way it is done in chemistry, we would like to single out and group together some of his finest and most virtuoso paintings, which could make a beautiful set. In all those paintings realistic and accurately portrayed elements do not interfere with the generalized and illusory atmosphere.

Vladimir Galatenko is a fine lyrical musician, who skilfully uses different artistic instruments, which enable him to produce works resembling chamber and symphony concerts on canvas and paper.


William Meinland,

Bureau member of Critic and Art Science Section Moscow Artists Union,

member of International Art Science Association