Ukrainian painter Mykola Belous appropriates for his paintings documentary shots or film pictures. These borrowed real or fictitious scenes are carefully remade by the painter. The author always relies upon colours to appropriate mise-en-scenes with human figures, arrangement of items, landscapes and interior sceneries. Every motif appears repainted in unnatural bright colours. Like in battle, hunting or nature, the camouflaging diversity of colours performs certain functions. The action on a “canvas screen” is as if masked by a play and shimmer of bright colour spots and shadows.
The titles of paintings like On the threshold, Peninsula, New Year, Ghost or Breakfast only serve as a hint without a clue to the full perception of the plot. At first glance, Belous’ works seem to be full of enjoyment of life. Bright decorative compositions of colours and sounding rhythms capture viewers’ attention. However, this first impression is soon to evaporate. If you look more carefully, the abstract compositions turn to be multi-figured, whereas enjoyment is soon replaced by anxiety.
In his paintings, Belous’ invokes Western pop art and its ironic interpretations found in Russian and Ukrainian Socialist Pop Art. However, both the optimism of American pop artists and the sarcasm of his fellow-countrymen are foreign to Belous. Compared to the one and the other, he is rather a melancholic. Belous art work is quite strongly influenced by the art of his generation, representing post-medial art expressions. Yet, he finds an individual path at the same time.
Belous’ balancing between abstraction and visual art, as well as the use of secondary reality, displays a conceptual character. Concurrently, the painter pays equal attention to the circumstances of his paintings. The Ukrainian artist challenges the power of images and masks them with a camouflage of colours until he finally returns meaningfulness to them. He virtuously plays with the compositions of bright open colours and restrained matted ones, eloquently using the effects of light.
The exhibition was called JUST COLOUR. However, it is more an impetus for discussion, and I would rather call it JUST COLOUR?.
Prof. Dr. Raminta Jurėnaitė