The history of art does not know too many cases when two brothers would engage in the same kind of art. This usually happens when parents have direct or indirect relationship with the world of beauty. The father of our heroes, Alisher and Azamat Ataboevs, works in the domain of literature, yet he is a real amateur of painting. Therefore he made sure that his sons choose this very direction in art: from their early childhood the boys attended painting classes and studios of renowned artists. The father cultivated their love of art and his efforts have not been wasted: both sons graduated from the painting department of the National Institute of Arts and Design named after K. Bekhzad, both were the students of Nemat Kuzybaev, famous landscape painter and pedagogue with a countrywide reputation. Perhaps that is why their creative development is also connected primarily with landscape.
Recently, the works of the brothers could be seen increasingly often at anniversary and thematic exhibitions held at the Central Exhibition Hall of the Academy of Arts (for example, to mark the Independence Day, or an exhibition titled “Nature and Artist”). Although one can still see some weaknesses in a just evolving artistic signature of the brothers, their works catch an eye by the authors’ confidence about the path they have chosen.
Canvases wrought by the young artists are consonant to each other. And this is no accident: the brothers go outdoors together to paint sketches: to the mountains, to the shores of rivers and lakes. However, one cannot but notice a particular signature characteristic of each of them. Whereas in Azamat’s works one can feel a gravitation towards prose and real life events and phenomena, Alisher’s canvases are the manifestation of his inclination for the poetically sublime and romantic.
Landscape is one of the favoured genres in the world’s painting. And every epoch offered its own interpretation and vision of nature. Bekhzad who created in the 15th-l6th centuries embodied the world of nature through resounding play of colours and the finest lines, in the interlacing of which there appeared gardens and flowerbeds, great plane-trees in the shape of mountain slopes. Botticelli pictured Italian nature in a free, broad as a sky manner, and the French artist Boucher created with his paints an image of a garden as a corner of heaven. No one could convey the character of Russian nature so powerfully and heartily as it was done by Shishkin and Levitan. The finest examples of landscape beauty of Uzbekistan can be found among paintings and numerous sketches of Ural Tansykbaev who walked nearly all over the country in search for a character of his epoch.
As a quest has no end, the results of a quest are infinite. Alisher and Azamat Ataboevs try to communicate their attitude towards the world of nature, remaining true to their chosen path. Despite problems that emerge in their life, when it is at times difficult to purchase brushes and canvas, in a situation of rising prices for paints which an artist needs as he needs air and water, the brothers are looking ahead, making powerful strides along the unknown path of creative discoveries.
As was mentioned above, the canvases of Azamat stand out by their specific connection to the chosen location and the use of real sights and panoramas. His pictures “Charvak”, “Khumsan” and “Roads of Angren” prove that the author’s aim is a soundly structured composition. At the same time, in his landscapes Azamat is trying to picture man’s creative spirit and to convey his presence; he also seeks to find a special charm in every season.
Alisher, in turn, is attracted to forbidden corners of our land that have an air of romanticism about them. For instance, Gilon, one of the remotest mountain villages in Kashkadarya Province, has recently become a place of pilgrimage for artists. Free from any signs of urbanization, the glorious scenery of the village with its residents who are not less expressive types, has become an object of attention in the art of many masters and is often displayed at exhibitions. It is not surprising that Alisher also wanted to reproduce the sight of this corner of the earth that preserved its pristine charm and to convey the spirit of local nature and the peculiarities of lifestyle of its inhabitants. As one who likes to create in solitude, he created an intimate image of a mountain village with its quiet, empty streets that either go up in terraces, or again go down a mountain slope. The houses seem to blend with the surrounding, creating a powerful feeling of closeness to nature.
Different in mood, the canvasses of the brothers still have one thing in common: realism in portraying reality. In some works by Azamat one may feel an aspiration for vanguard, which, however, does not prevail in his art. Realism requires that life be portrayed as is, yet it offers an artist an opportunity to choose a school to follow and a manner in which to create. And this important feature determines the artist’s vision, the degree of mastery and the weight of his works. Both young artists immediately realized that in the domain they had chosen one must work seriously and painstakingly, “to the bone”, over each canvas, to be able to touch the hearts of art connoisseurs.
Whereas in Azamat’s canvases one can feel gravity, tranquil confidence, perspicacity and curiosity in an attempt to understand reality, the works of Alisher breathe with an aspiration for free spirit and heavenly lightness, and therefore the colours of his palette are pure, lightweight and charming.
“Landscape is not a mere copying of nature, but its reflection taken through the artist’s perception; one should understand it, capture all its colours with one’s eye and, taking it through the prism of one’s heart, reproduce it on a canvas in appropriate form”, the People’s Artist of Uzbekistan Ruzy Charyevusedtosay.
In his painting Alisher is trying to reflect philosophical and poetic perception of reality. At the first glance, the spirit of his works seems akin to the canvases of Russian painters Levitan and Cuingi, yet he finds his own signature to depict Uzbek nature, using a quiet and original palette. Looking at his “Blue Mountains” one unwittingly recalls “An Ode for Uzbekistan” written by poet Abdulla Aripov; and his canvas “After the Rain” is associated with a poem by Rauf Parfi “Silence”. The geography of Alisher’s creative journeys is fully reflected in the subjects of his works: “Andijan”, “In Angren”, “Karhob”, “Shirmon Buloq”, “Khumten”, “Sukok”, “Korankul”, “Gilon”… These places differ from each other in their nature and scenery. Some of them are located in Chatkal, in Fergana Valley, and some in Kashkadarya Province. Many of these beautiful sights were glorified by prominent masters of painting such as U. Tansykbaev, N. Karakhan, and N. Kuzybaev. Following the tradition of his teachers, Alisher seeks to communicate his own perception of his favourite corners. One must admit that he has succeeded in doing that. He pays specific attention to compositional structure that can convey certain semantic implication of a canvas. To support the composition, he selects colours and shades that reflect nature’s mood, and finds a solution for shapes. All these features together give birth to images such as “An Old Willow Tree”, “An Old Plane-Tree”, “An Old Mulberry Tree” and “Beshik Tog” (“Cradle Mountain”).
Sometimes Alisher turns to subjects that are already known from the works of other painters, and fills them with his own vision. For instance, Murtazo Ergashev has a painting called “Soykuprik” (“Bridge over a Stream”): having borrowed the image, Alisher offers a different interpretation of it, using pure and tranquil play of colours and poetic perception of the scenery. Just as unique is his interpretation of a theme in Mukhammad Toshmuradov’s work “Gilondagi Tandir” (“An Oven in Gilon”), Looking at his canvas we seem to sense the invisible contact of the pictured object, the oven, and a man who is baking his dailybreadinit.
Particularly notable in the young artist’s work are themes connected with seasons and their change. He has managed to find convincing colours and the subtlest nuances and to play with light and shade in order to convey a peculiar philosophy, beauty and charm of each season and to excite a human soul. These are the canvases “Kiynok kun” (“A Sultry Day”), “Kish” (“Winter”), “Kuzning sungi kunlari” (“The Last Days of Autumn”), “Sukokda tong” (“Dawn in Sukok”), and “Shimolli kun” (“AWindy Day”).
Nowadays, when increasingly often our life gets confined by the walls of our apartments and offices, and when nature falls under huge pressure from the civilization, scenic landscapes not only bring aesthetic pleasure to the viewer, but also have educational effect, There is no doubt that people who are tired of smoggy city air and are craving an outdoor experience shall become voluntary “captives” of the wonderful landscapes created by the Ataboev brothers.