Allusions of Gulya Gromova’s character sketches

Issue #3-4 • 1887

Cactus

Actualization of maladaptive philosophy in the contemporary art process arouses indeterminate genre limits and so generates new portrait types – portrait sketches, symbols, metaphors and others. It means that abstract interpretation of painting often is not so necessary. Everyone takes something own from spiritual and artistic heritage. The young artist Gulya Gromova proves that idea. Her works show careful attention to human characters and a theme of loneliness.

Self portrait with green ear. 1991

When G. Gromova was a student of Republican Art College named after P. Benkov (class of G. Pushin and H. Mirzaahmedov), she already showed persistent desire to obtain artistic knowledge and to achieve realistically interpreted objects (“Self-portrait by the window”, “Portrait of Mum”, “The Girl by the window” and “The red-headed”). She carefully studied works of such artists as V. Serov and G. Kurbeh with his straight approach to reality. Realism became an important step in professional making of G. Gromova.

Later, being a student of Tashkent State College of Arts named after M. Uygur (faculty of painting, class of D. Rahmanov, S. Rahmetov and N. Рак), she attached to critical analysis of reality and works of great artists. That was connected with searching for own individuality.

Bobur

In the 1990s G. Gromova was exploring West-European painting. She had studied realism, at the same time, avoiding imitation and some kind of stylistic and plastic plagiarism, often characteristic for young artists. A. Durer and L. Cranach der Altere gave her arrangement of a portrait sketch within vertically extended rectangle that later became her favourite and added dramatic expressiveness to compositions (“Asya”, “Babur” and “Lena by suzane”). Being a student, she had already created original and bright portrait sketches showing her individual style. Their feature was a combination of “naturalistically” interpreted object and some irreal space or grotesque and creative interpretation of normal subjects. Some her works (“Mourning over a frenzied soul”, “Seller of crayfish” and “Puppeteer”) bear traces of Rembrandt’s dramatic contrast of light and half-light. Lyrics and warmth of “little Dutchs” came to her “Still-life with a candle and shell”. T. Lautrec ironic aesthetics coloured her “Decadence” and “Casanova”. Sculptural force and anxious brown colour of “Potato eaters” and fury yellow colour of “Sunflowers” by V. Van Gogh are felt in “Shurik and bull-terrier”, “Lunch”, “Yellow River” and “Self-portrait with a green ear”. Still-life with Greek vase. 1997.

Lena and bumblebee. 1991

At the same time she created “Three witches”, “Puritan and devil” and “Old clown” following I. Bosch’s mythical space of medieval “devilry”. “Self-portrait on the old mare”, “Polina” and “Pomegranate” are full of S. Dali’s sarcasm and his world of surrealistic effects while “Self-portrait in a black beret” and “Tigran” reveal balance and ultimatism of Soviet “severe style”.

The first examination at the college already revealed a monumental nature of her compositions and tough, almost “sculptural” interpretation of painting forms. Moreover, her pictures equally distinguished for innovative solution and deeply digested characters. The first discussion of her works was debatable and very active.

Polina

Perhaps, the most typical of G. Gromova are expressive plastics, colours, grotesque dramatics and a theme of loneliness, as if borrowed from P. Picasso. That is traced in lyric “Three ages”, “Lena and devil”, “Pygmalion and Galatea” and “Vica with a glass” as well as in such touching pictures, full of pain and despair as “Seller of dolls” and “Cactus”. Though in the 1990s G. Gromova turned to cubistic techniques (“Musician-2″) and G. Braque’s invention – collage (“Babur”, “Lena and bumblebee”

and “Tigran”), her later portrait series (“This is love”) brightly shows influence of P. Picasso and cubism that was realized in stylistically interpreted objects, monochromatic colour and in grotesquely broken bodies in unusual angles.

Puritan and devil

Along with innovative searches G. Gromova turned to academic painting that also obtained an important role in her work. This is a series of pastel studies from nudes in static and sometimes expressive poses. Anatomically perfect plastic of sensual nudes proves her complete professionalism.

Creative interpretation of objects penetrated G. Gromova’s experimental searches. So, stylistic copying of old masters did not attract her. Study of traditions and realistic sketches likely became a technical experience required for creation of new expressive characters. Her portraits are allied to conceptual pictures containing some key idea and theme. G. Gromova succeeds to achieve such interpretation that art experts and people addicted to contemplate philosophy are able to understand them adequately. In them, as G. Gromova considers, colour and plastic means are just indicators of professionalism while her primary purpose is a true character of a person. That’s why she refuses from the middle ground, interior or landscape as a background. Really, a concept of chamber-like compositions is not typical of her works. Her characters always are grotesque and emphatically perplexed as if hanged between the worlds, out of space and time.

Still-life with Greek vase. 1997

The series “This is love” is a result of almost three-year work (2000 – 2003). It stuns with grotesque characters successfully combining their own emotions and optimistic irony of the artist. These are surprisingly tampered like Love. This is personification of emotions having captured a person falling into love. This is Love in all its inspiring power. This is a series of reminiscences and witty semantic puns. Hence follows a line of double portraits having metaphorical allegory.

Portrait of artist. N. S. Pak. 1999

A motif is Love reflections – many-sided phenomenon that is beyond any adequate estimation and involving all fields of human being. Celebrated and overthrown, legendary and forgotten love plots represent anthology of the human world that begins with loneliness of a person among people and finishes in relations of the two. In each case a history is old and predicted but anyhow unique.

Planarity and monumental generality of forms along with monochromic painting exposing tempera facture arouse reminiscence of ancient frescoes. At the same time the series “This is love” reveals to the best G. Gromova’s plastic talent. Hypertrophied and sarcastically interpreted characters located in narrow rectangles are conceptually allied in colour and theme. Monochromatic colour as if stands down in favour of a plastic that achieves sculptural expressiveness indeed. Colour more likely creates some spiritual space. This is a world where dominates a sensually sunny passion. Just a few pictures have a balancing plot of “flowing cool of blue water”. In this case, we can see not so realistic interpretation of nature and real people. Before our eyes there is a metaphorical world full of philosophy while painting remains figural that looks interesting in the context of actual understanding of a portrait sketch.

Lunch
Three witches

“This is love” made G. Gromova actually known as a serious artist and became a significant step in her professional progress. Her familiar and clear love plots are universal category that needs no additional decorative means, and few attributes (circlet of flowers, violin and beaker of wine) do not detract from artistic generalization and accuracy of plastic characteristics. These works still bear didactically emotional intonations, but the author successfully keeps harmony of the figural world. This series demonstrates a different borderline of the artist’s states of mind. Negatively estimative moods – depressive despair, painful apathy and melancholy of indifferent characters of the previous 1990s have been replaced by vital and optimistic world vision, by love contemplation in all its acts though some characters still have traces of melancholy.

G. Gromova created a line of “always fashionable” and mannered portraits (“Venus”, “Vica” and “Anna”) which became something like a tribute to experimental temptation. However, a leading motif of her creativity is empathy and admiring the human world of spirit. So, all pictures of “This is love” as if represent bare emotions, hymns and stages of endless mysteries devoted to Love where everyone is granted by this universal feeling.

It will be observed that G. Gromova is one of a few young home artists coming to so-called actual art, having overcome “pressure” of traditions. Her art can not be attributed to “typical culture” connected with self-identification of our national art school. Her art clearly testifies to aspiration of young Uzbekistan artists to enter the global art process, at the same time, keeping the richest national heritage.

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