The "Amphitheatre" of Artist Erkin Vorobyov

Issue #1 • 2009

Эркин Воробьёв Some biography facts: Erkin Raufovich Vorobyov was born in 1950 in Karakchikum village, Leninabad (now Khojent) Province. Between 1973 and 1977 he was a student at Ornamentation and Design Department of the Frunze Art College. Before entering the college and after graduation he worked at Andijan art workshops.

What prompted the present author to write the article was a glance at a calendar page: Vorobyev turns 60! 60 years is neither many, nor few, but for an artist the decades that seem to have passed so quickly have been filled with zealous work, which, dictated by talent, comprises the input of hand, heart and mind. The introduction to Vorobyov’s art took place 30 years ago, and now those old-time impressions came alive with all the freshness of novelty. Not a “picturesque”, but a commonplace, day-to-day scene observed in passing, once you step outside the gate: a little stream that washed out the ditch bank and tilted a sturdy tree, making it bend over water, and the tree, both obedient and resentful, spreads out its branches. The subject is transformed when seen through the prism of the artist’s perception. The external – stranding before the nature – turns into the internal – fusion with artistic and lyrical insight – and one is looking for words to describe this magical rendition of the motif by the artist.

Erkin Vorobyov also engages in monumental/decorative work, which indicates his preparedness for thematic diversity. Landscape group of easel paintings is important for understanding their author’s inner world and for determining the painting manner and his artistry – however grand the word may sound.

 Вдумчивая мишура.Х.,м.,темпера,смальта,смеш.техн.2008 Here are some titles of the artist’s works of late 1970s and mid 1980s: “Autumnal Evening” (1970), “Shared Courtyard” (1979), “Evening in the Garden”, “Field at Sunset” (1980), “Landscape” (1983), “Outskirts” (1986), “On the outskirts”, “The Old House”, “House Under the Mountain”, “Evening”, “Wet Snow”, “Poplar Trees”, and “Countryside Garden.Vorobyov’s many landscape compositions include a tree, a house, gates of a common courtyard… This is the view from his window, from his “amphitheatre”. At dawn, when he comes up to the window, his animate fellow-being will take a step towards him. I speak with a tree.

Several Tashkent exhibitions displayed a canvas that became known as “The White House” (it was talked about even before the author’s name was mentioned). The house was showing in other compositions by Vorobyov, but that particular one with tall superstructure receiving light like a screen, demonstrated the artist’s rare sensitivity to the changing light, and its reflecting surface transformed the familiar picture through the colourist’s vision.

Дом Х,м.1992 A painting titled “Olden Times” clearly stands out. Its artistic content is predominantly about the author’s heartfelt emotions caused by the theme of decay. Austere and succinct pictorial language cannot not conceal the lyrical Vorobyov.

A painting titled “Olden Times” clearly stands out. Its artistic content is predominantly about the author’s heartfelt emotions caused by the theme of decay. Austere and succinct pictorial language cannot not conceal the lyrical Vorobyov.

 Дом возле  дороги.Х.,м.1999 The first thorough introduction to his art was through the Young Artists Wing (YAW) of the Artists Union of Uzbekistan. YAW exhibitions were held in Tashkent, in the premises of the Youth Centre on Pakhtakor Street, at the Exhibition Hall of the Ilkhom Studio Theatre. The Artists Union was growing strong. This was the time of prominence for the artists from Bukhara – Marcos Karpuzas, Irina Zavyalova, the group of Victor Apukhtin with their graphic project “The Door”, and Andrei Krikis in the vanguard; Azamat Khatamov modelled form in sculpture and graphics arts; the principles of synthesis during the new phase were proposed by Abdukhakim Turdyev, Shakhnoza Jamilova, Gafur Kodarov and Akmal Nuritdinov. Expressive line was gaining momentum and greater tonal polyphony, and on this background in 1986 the Andijan artists V. Baranchikov and E. Vorobyov came forth.

Vladimir Baranchikov (b. 1952) is a native of Osh Province of Kyrgyzstan. After graduating from the Leningrad Higher Art School named after V. I. Mukhina, he started working in Andijan workshops. Both artists, who are quite unlike each other, demonstrated rational approach to the interpretation of historical, cultural and moral values. A comprehensive exposure of the authors’ orientation in their works produced an equally powerful impression on the audience avid for novelty and on sophisticated art critics and artists alike. Here is one quote from that time: “I envy you guys because you managed to set up such an interesting display. You are wonderful. I want to be like you and put up a similar exhibition one day.”

Розы.Натюрморт.Х.,м.1994 In 1992, an exhibition prepared by the Fergana Regional Museum of local lore, held with support from the Museum Department of the Ministry of Culture of Uzbekistan in the halls of the State Art Museum in Tashkent, saw a large number of participants. Paintings were also presented by Nikolai Glavyuk, Fyodor Ibryaev, Mamut Churlu, Sergei Alibekov, Vyacheslav Useinov, Alisher Khamidov, and Lev Snegiryov. The authors’ individuality seen in characteristic features of their art appeared against the broader background of the Fergana Valley art. Landscape painting where the composition can never get boring, confirmed Vorobyov’s calling. The audience met with that very tree with branches creating a mesh for the sunlight, and the “gold of the days” could be seen through in the hourglass of time.

 Весенняя мишура.Х.,м.2004 Landscape motives dominated. At the Ilkhom exhibition Vorobyov expanded the nature motif by demonstrating still-life paintings such as “Calendula” (1978) and “Flowers” (1980). Another composition showed the tightly closed hangar gates. Later on, in early 1990s, at the contemporaries’ exhibition organized by the Union of Artists of Uzbekistan, which quite remarkably combined realist tradition and non-conformism, the attention of the audience was caught by one powerful painting by Vorobyov – an island motif in “marine” colours. Deep-blue and red outlines for a house. Its elongated tower-like structure was almost even with the horizons of an oval island. A house on the forgotten island that cannot be found on a map… A degree of estrangement, concealing the appeal of this cold, detached vision. A small size picture drawn with the brush of a monumental artist… By the way, this is the same house!

 Натюрморт.Цветы.Х.,м.1991 Vorobyov seldom exhibited his works, but whenever he did, it was always a memorable event confirming his reputation of an impressionable and insightful artist of rare integrity when it came to pictorial form. In 1991 he participated in a group exhibition “Under the Sign of the All-Seeing Eye” held at the Central House of Artists in Moscow. In early 1990s the Culture Foundation of Uzbekistan included his works into the visiting exhibition to Western Europe. Three canvases went into the collection of the State Art Museum of Uzbekistan. Created in 1991, his painting “February” was presented at the exhibition in two similar variations. A fragment of a tree covered by frost: painted into the overcast day, is the artist’s communication and his poetic interpretation of the passage of time. “February” is based on the harmony of shadows that results from the vibration of multilayer glazing. The painter achieves a shimmering depth when a paint layer dries.

There are different ways to approach a landscape. It can be perceived as a background, a remote environment before the artist, or the way Vorobyov does it – insightfully, embraced in a sympathetic whisper. The tree is my friend, the tree is my brother. Tree is a metaphor for the forces of nature and changing sentiments of a man; it experiences the passage of alternating seasons – the rains, the bloom and fall of the leaves. Here it is – the cycle of life.

Пейзаж.Х.,м.,смальта.2006 Artists are very familiar with a philosophers’ premise: “Nature never ask or answers questions of mortals”. Still they persist, from century to century, in trying to formulate and resolve the unthinkable Nature’s problem. Most probably, they ask themselves the question, or rather, the human community seeking the ideal expression poses the question through the artist.

At the exhibitions of environmental section of the Artists Union, Vorobyov tries the “fleeting” painting in quicker brush-strokes that do not analyze the volume structure by advancing deeply into the color perspective; instead, they are moved by the wind, the breathing, the element… Whether he is better at it – is the matter of individual interpretation, but there is an experience, and it fits into the “test print” of the artist’s events. There is one thing one becomes increasingly confident about: if Erkin Vorobyov leaves his place in the amphitheatre, the chair will remain unoccupied.

Домик.Х.,м.1995-1996 He will return to the hardened, closed surface; dim golden sunbeams will again stream through the mesh of thick branches of a gnarled tree, and the rusty colours of sunset will gather in their material reproduction where the colour will draw the eye to the “window into nature” painted vibrantly by the artist. In addition to the biographical note at the beginning of the article one can add that Erkin R. Vorobyov is a Member of the Artists Union of the Academy of Arts Uzbekistan and the winner of the Silver Medal awarded by the Academy; his painting “House by the Side of the Road” (1999) has been included in the “Anthology of Pictorial Art of Uzbekistan” published in 2009 in Tashkent.

Rima Yeremyan

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