In the Small gallery Ilya presents selected works from his 2016 residency in Tartu, Estonia and from St. Petersburg, including oil paintings on paper and on canvas, and monoprints.
"...The title of the exhibition Farce speaks to the strange situations and otherworldly juxtapositions that I experience in everyday life and often refer to in my artwork. I like the word as it also speaks strongly of our present positions in Russia or pretty much anywhere you find yourself these days... My paintings are darkly comic, the characters within my pictures battling their way through the anxieties and joy of life, the narratives loose, playful and chaotic.
What lies at the heart of these paintings is my own intuitive process, a willingness and confidence to allow the story to unfold as I paint, with brushwork opening up space for my characters to breathe, to take on a life yet unexplored. This confidence of allowing the picture to speak for itself gives me time to understand my subject matter, and to invest each painting with emotion as each character confronts the vagaries of life and reflects their own view of the world. One that is incisive, humorous and poignant.
I have just returned from a 3-month printmaking residency in the city of Tartu where I received a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre, as well as, use of the Printmaking Museum's printmaking equipment and also was provided with a big private painting studio. The residency culminated in an exhibition at the Tartu Printing Museum.
During this 3 month residency, I was able to have a break and travel to Russia. I had been outside of Russia since 1991 when it was still the Soviet Union. My father and mother have both passed away whilst I have been out of the country (although I had seen them numerous times in New York City and in Sydney) this past trip was my first visit to their graves in the southern Kuban region. We traveled by train on an amazing 32 hour trip from St. Petersburg to Krasnodar and then 2 hours by car to Ust Labinsk. I was able to visit most of my family, my mother's sister is 91 and it was so important for my wife and son to see where I'm from and meet them.
It was a trip I will never forget and it has definitely 'refilled my painting cup'...." Ilya Volykhine