12 August 2022, 05:57

From minimalism to realism and postmodernism: artistic reflections of Oleg Minko

From minimalism to realism and postmodernism: artistic reflections of Oleg Minko
Oleg Minko is an outstanding Ukrainian contemporary artist whose work covers a variety of styles and trends that rarely intersect with each other. He painted minimalistic abstractions, realistic landscapes, postmodern still lifes and portraits, executed in an unusual but recognizable style. The artist was born in Makeyevka on the eve of World War II, which he experienced in the Cherkasy region, and in 1944 he returned to his native land. Interest in art led Minko to Lviv: here in 1959 he entered the university, the current Lviv National Academy of Arts (at that time it was an institute of applied and decorative arts).
The creative path of the artist began with abstractions that reflected his emotional experiences. In the works created in the early 60s, Minko combines black, gray, brown, red, bronze colors, due to which the works turned out to be harsh, with a touch of asceticism. This period was short-lived, lasted until 1965, after which a new stage started - figurative. Minko opposed what was happening in society, was an opponent of Soviet ideology and tried with all his might, albeit veiled, to express his protest through paintings. This is how the works “A Poem about the Old Steppe”, “Death of a Koshevoy”, “Cossack” were born - all of them are about the national past of Ukraine, which worried the artist so much. Much later, after an eight-year creative crisis, Minko continued to create in this vein, as evidenced by the works "Bandurist", "Trypillia", "The Prophet" and others.
In the 70s, the master went through a difficult time: the pressure of totalitarianism in the country intensified, the oppressive atmosphere fettered. However, over time, Minko experienced a new insight, turned to a realistic manner and took up landscapes and portraits. In 1981 he was able to show his works at an exhibition for the first time after many years of silence, and in 1982 he became a senior lecturer at the department of artistic textiles at his native university.
During the last 15 years of his life, with the onset of the 2000s, Minko created monumental canvases that became a reaction to modernity. He often connects the real and the mystical, tries to look at the other world, in general, builds his own metaphysical world. Because of the artist's manner, he is often called the Lviv Picasso, but despite some similarities with the Spanish post-impressionist, Minko developed his own language of images and turned to motifs familiar to Ukrainian art.

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