Sergey Shlyachkov - Аn Аrtist on a White Horse. - 3D virtual exhibition by The Valentine Ryabov Gallery

Sergey Shlyachkov - Аn Аrtist on a White Horse.

Wed, 06/10/2020 to Sat, 06/20/2020

curated by:

Sergey Shlyachkov- Аn Аrtist on a White Horse.

By Valentin Ryabov,
Art critic, gallery owner.

The artist, whose talent could still fascinate collectors and serious painting lovers for many years with his creative unpredictability, expression, and, at the same time, philosophical thoroughness, passed away as a result of banal medical negligence.

Sergey Shlyachkov's painting did not appear immediately, at first there were timid, small steps. He kind of tried the soil under his feet and asked himself the question: "Is it possible to step here, and what about here?" Fear, uncertainty, doubts. Who could then explain that these are all satellites of the nature of the seeker, the creator? The world that surrounded the artist at that time in his native Taininka was very far from bohemia. Moscow region, vegetable gardens, Russian village life spoiled by vodka, so it has been from generation to generation. How is it different? Maybe this is life? The changes occurred after Sergey suffered a clinical death following a heart attack. The world has changed. There was a need to write, to make sketches, to stand by the easel for hours, working on what and what would have to be done, but doctors forbade it.

Once Sergey brought two works to the "Panorama" gallery, which was headed by Elena Ryabova ( Altukhova at that time). Small size still-life paintings did not immediately impressed, although there was something unusual in them. The well-known Moscow collector David Axelbant very sensitively intervened in the situation: "Pay attention to this artist. Very talented ... ". Something suggested that he was not mistaken.

From that moment on, a different meaning of being appeared in Sergey's life, and then the "Valentin Ryabov Gallery" appeared, the friendship with which lasted throughout the artist's life. The first painting, which instantly drew a line between the past and the present, was a work entitled "The Return of the Prodigal Son", dated 1989. Truly a landmark work, which determined the point of the artist's non-return to the past, marked the moment of self-awareness as a Painter.

At this time, doctors were still not allowed to work hard, although there were improvements in health. But is there any obstacle or prohibition for an enthusiastic person! Paintings of amazing beauty and meaning began to appear in the artist's workshop (Sergey converted the terrace of the house into it). The pieces "The Rose Bush" and "The Boy with the Cat" are a tribute to the work of the beloved artist Pablo Picasso, but there is nothing Spanish about them: the rose bush blossoms in the garden of his own house and the chair on which the boy sits, here it is, there is a sketchbook on it, and even the cat looks very authentically Russian. Sergey almost always was deep in the art process, he made a huge number of sketches in pencil, ink, and watercolor. He was noticing a special meaning in life and then transferred it to the canvas. Often in a hurry, there was no time even to take a brush, and then the images were molded with paint on the canvas directly with his hands. From the outside, it seemed that the artist did not know what to do: first, he drew the paint, then erased it, then again "painted" something, at the risk of tearing up the canvas (which often happened). Suddenly he stops as if he has reached a dead-end and says: "That's it." And if you could be present at that moment in the studio, then it would be most interesting to look at you, because the very connection between the artist's movements and the amazing result that appeared from nothing on the canvas is incomprehensible.
This is how the artist Sergey Shlyachkov worked in his workshop.

The paintings "Resting", "Fisherman", "Harlequins" - written an à la prima, in one session, made the viewer silently look at these masterpieces of the Russian artist from the Taininka country house near Moscow. In 1996, my article was published in the first issue of the "Russian Gallery" magazine, one of the founders of which was the State Tretyakov Gallery, here is part from it: "Sergey Shlyachkov is an artist of a "great" themes, transforming the triviality of life events into the elevation of human existence. In this case, the plot of the canvases can be extremely simple - harvesting, washing clothes, relaxing in a home environment. But the plastic interpretation of the paintings "raises" their content above the plot, telling the images the parable nature. In recent years, Shlyachkov has increasingly directly addressed biblical and gospel themes, creating, however, not illusions, but an expressive plastic paraphrase of deep philosophical reflections on the world and man. The artist's element is a pulsating colorful spot and a lively, temperamental brushstroke, testifying to an inclination towards the impressionistic traditions, with inspiration by the works of Monet, Degas, Renoir. The picturesque manner of a'la prima gives the impression of an "unbearable lightness of being" by the artist. In fact, Shlyachkov writes slowly, composes based on many preparatory sketches and drawings, often works - it will not be an exaggeration to say - painfully, writing down a finished canvas in search of a more expressive composition and a more accurate color scheme. The outer outline of Sergei Shlyachkov's life is quite even: he strives to be a purely private person, avoids social life, works in a quiet workshop in his hometown of Mytishchi, only occasionally visiting the capital. However, it is precisely this degree of dedication that determines the inner drama of creative self-awareness and makes it possible to go back to philosophical generalizations in art ..."
That was just so, the themes of the paintings were born in the process of long and deep thought. A series of works entitled "Bullfight", more than 20 paintings, painted by the artist from 1995 to 2003. It is amazing that Sergey never visited Spain and did not know much about the action itself apart from what he saw in books and albums. To the question: "Why bullfight?", He answered: "Look inside yourself - there is bullfight every day, and you are not always the winner ..." In the album "Traditions: Past and Present", published in 1999 by the Valentin Ryabov Gallery, there is a description of very descriptive scenes of Sergey Shlyachkov's point of view on life. Once, I came to the artist in the studio and found him in a bad mood, not only that the painting, which was to be finished, stood on the easel completely incomplete, or rather, the artist would not touch it. I asked him what happened, Sergey blurted out: "Well, what can I draw here. Look at the window yourself ... ". Outside the window was really dirty autumn snow, a gray sky, gray trees, everything was a dirty gray. There was only one thing left - to go drink tea, to cheer up. And then in a heap of garbage, I saw a small canvas shot from a stretcher:

- Sergey, what is it?
- nothing, trash.
- Can I see it?
- It is not interesting. Did not work out. But sure, tale a look!

A series of works entitled Laundresses began with this piece of canvas found in the garbage. And the find itself, measuring 30x40 cm, was estimated by experts at the Tirosh auction house at $ 4,000 (a significant amount at that time). Since then, the cost of the master's work has grown significantly and can today cost tens of thousands of dollars. The artist's success did not become for him a test, a temptation, a test of the strength of the principles by which he built relationships primarily with himself. Awareness of self-relevance comes when an artist doing something meaningful for other people. Sergey worked hard. Exhibitions in Portugal (1999) and Poland (2000), where the master's paintings were exhibited, became a revelation for connoisseurs of Russian art. In 2002, Valentina Ryabova Gallery was invited to work on the interiors of the Russian Embassy in Seoul (South Korea). The Ambassador of Russia Timor Ramishvili, has seen Sergey Shlyachkov's paintings and asked to include the artist in the delegation. The period from 2002 to 2004 can be called a new stage in the art of Sergey Shlyachkov. In his works, there was a tendency to minimalism, color separation, work with the textures of the paint layers - all this gave a special unique flavor to the paintings of this period, such as "A stormy wind rose on the lake ...", "Red Square. Evening "," At the Early Hour "," Two Roads ". In 2004, Sergey was preparing another sensation: three new paintings that he did not have time to finish ... Today, works of art by the great master have become rarities, not many collectors who have previously bought Sergey Shlyachkov's paintings want to part with them. The Valentin Ryabov Gallery did a great job of collecting his paintings. In this matter, the widow of the artist, Svetlana Shlyachkova, has provided active assistance. She kindly gave her husband's work from her collection. A fine selection of paintings was published in the first, second, and third volumes of the album "150 Works of Contemporary Russian Artists", published by the Gallery in 2005-2008.

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