EVGENY & LYDIA V. BARANOV
Jones & Terwilliger Galleries proudly present the dynamic work of two Russian painters, Evgeny and Lydia V. Baranov. Evgeny (b. 1961) and Lydia Velichko Baranov (b. 1964) were born into Muscovite families where an interest in the fine arts was not only appreciated but also actively encouraged. Both were students of the old Soviet Union's most prestigious school, Moscow Institute of Architecture.
The institute emphasized an extremely rigorous, multi-disciplinary education, and could only be entered through a series of competitive entrance exams. In addition to five years of drawing, four years of painting, two years of sculpting, and their architecture courses, Evgeny and Lydia received an excellent grounding in history, philosophy and mathematics. By the time that they graduated from the six-year program in 1984 and 1987, Evgeny and Lydia not only had a practical career in architecture but an excellent grounding in the fine arts that was rooted in the old curriculum of the Imperial Academy.
Evgeny Baranov and Lydia Velichko after graduation both worked on the restoration of historic buildings in Moscow. As they came to know each other, they learned that they shared a deep love of the Russian painting and that both had a desire to pursue a career in the fine arts. As part of an exchange program for young architects, Lydia won the opportunity to travel to Anchorage, Alaska, where she worked on a project to survey the historic Russian Orthodox churches in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.
At this time the "Velvet Revolution" was occurring and communism was beginning to collapse. Evgeny Baranov and Lydia Velichko were present enough to see that things would be better for them abroad, so the couple married and moved to Anchorage, where Lydia had made friends and valuable contacts.
In Anchorage, the Baranovs adapted to a system and culture that was foreign to them. Lydia V. Baranov did translation work while the two worked to forge a following for their paintings. She and Evgeny began to teach art. They developed a detailed curriculum but were disappointed to find that few students had the necessary desire to master elementary drawing principles before moving on to painting. Gradually, the young painters began to sell their landscape work and develop a following for formal portraits and genre paintings.
In the beautiful Alaskan wilderness, the Baranov's began to spend a great deal of time painting out-of-doors or "en plein air" as the French describe it. They began to experiment by painting side-by-side on the same canvas in order to capture the rapidly changing conditions of light and atmosphere. Excited by the paintings that came out of their collaboration, the Baranovs began to work on portraits and genre scenes together too. Eventually, after eight years in Anchorage, the couple saw more opportunities in a more populated area and they moved to California.
After joining the prestigious California Art Club (founded in 1909) and participating in several plein-air painting events, the Baranov's settled in the turn-of-the-century art colony of Carmel. Although the Baranov's have adopted the subject matter of the California Impressionists, their work remains distinctly Russian.
As the Russian painters of the 19th century did, the Baranovs create landscapes that the viewer can step into and walk around. The foreground looms large. Roads, trails and rivers create pathways to explore. While some of their landscapes are panoramic, offering a grand sweeping view, the Baranovs also accord the small corners of nature similar respect and attention. They seek out the beauty of the commonplace as well as the extraordinary.
In their genre scenes, Evgeny and Lydia strive for penetrating depth. They want these works to deal with relationships and with the nature of being human. Some of these paintings can be melancholy or bittersweet because of the complex and contradictory nature of life. In "The Work is Over" the subject is one that any creative person should be able to identify with. After a writer, poet or artist has struggled long and hard with a major project and it has finally been completed, he or she is often left with a feeling of emptiness. The work has been done, the goal met, but nothing has yet filled the void left by the project's completion and consequently the creator is left depressed and desolate, if only for a time.
Ultimately, the art of Evgeny and Lydia V. Baranov is unique in that this pair of talented painters have lived together, worked together, and traveled together for so long that the consciousness of not one but two artists is infused in each of their works. The artistic sensibility, creative spirit, and indomitable work ethic of two similar but unique personalities contributes to not only the collaborative paintings that they create side-by-side, but even to the works that they do on their own.
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Carmel, CA 93921
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