Publications · 06.06.2022

Русская галерея XXI век №5/2018

‘Russian Gallery XXI’ No. 5/2018

There are 4 page spreads (8 columns) about me in the magazine ‘Russian Gallery XXI century’. Moscow, No. 5/2018.

The magazine is published under the patronage of the Non-commercial national culture and art funding agency which is the founder of the National Modern Fine and Applied Arts Award in Russia ‘Russian Gallery XXI century’. As agreed with the Federal Agency of the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation which is under jurisdiction of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this magazine is sent to the libraries of the Russian centers of science and culture in 83 countries of the world.

Russian Gallery XXI No. 5/2018 Artist Olesya Rapotkina


A. S. Epishin, Ph.D in History of Arts,
Member of the Union of Artists of Russia, AIS member (Association of Art Critics)

Artistic creativity is a delightful and exciting world. There can be more melody contained in a small etude or a quick sketch than in a serious multi-part symphony, and more warmth that in a kind word. Sometimes, we get fear that the pictorial essence itself, existing for thousand years, has exhausted itself. But no such thing can be true. The artwork obeys the artist’s hands, it is a servant of his individuality. And each new hand gives the art a new, a unique life. 

Olesya Rapotkina was born in Aktyubinsk. She expressed her passion for art at an early age: Olesya graduated with honours from a children’s art school, and then from an art lyceum in her hometown. For the artist, the University n.a. K. Zhubanov became the next step towards the professional mastership. After receiving a pedagogical education in the field of graphic design, Olesya first moved to St. Petersburg and then to Moscow. Now she creates equally successful portraits, landscapes, still-lifes, bookplates, as well as engages in the development of logos and corporate identity, polygraphy, web design, and outdoor advertising. Rapotkina is a member of such organizations as International Fine Art Fund and the Union of Designers of Moscow, she is also a frequent participant of the city, regional and all-Russian exhibitions. The artist’s works are placed in many private collections in Russia and abroad.

Olesya Rapotkina’s canvases are diverse in emotions, style, and technique. In fact, this a living evidence of the artist’s wide range of feelings and moods. She works in a very straightforward, ambitious, and free manner. The strictness of the relation between the composition and the colours allow us to talk about the distinctiveness and cogency of the paintings.

The watercolours imbued with a sense of lightness, spirituality, and freshness are the first to draw the viewer’s attention. Works of Olesya Rapotkina are characterized by transparency and absence of shadows. She paints only with reflexes, partially raw, “a la prima”. Thus, the Deer Lake, which is an obviously improvised painting with no preliminary drawing, attracts with its gentleness and, at the same time, the vibrant gamut of azure shades of blue and green. The art piece was echoed by the Academic building No.5 of the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, in which the colour composition is also built on the interaction between the blue, pearl-grey, and green tones. The play of the cold shadows clearly fascinates the artist and the loose scattering of the small strokes, similar to the impressionist pointillism, give an impression of a unique colour mosaic.

The artist’s oil paintings, with pastose strokes and local, opaque colour, however, leave the viewers with a completely different impression.

The art pieces of still life fall into a separate category. Still Life with Pomegranates is charming due to the peculiar painting manner, as all the objects are dense, real, and tangible. Flat, almost square strokes impart an impression of the immobility of the colour layers – short brush touches onto the draperies, pomegranates, mandarins, and apples produce a certain game between the light and the shadow and add an effect of pulsation and glimmer to the painting. Still Life with Pears should undisputedly be recognized as a great success; a unique colour saturation allows the viewers to feel physically the faceted texture of fruits and the soft surface of draperies. Particular attention should be paid to the thriving colour combination of the intensely blue and pale pink fabrics: the artist conveys them with density, deep and, at the same time, transparent shadows, which emphasizes the juicy ripeness of pears and melons spread across the table. The painting seems to preserve the freshness of the first impression and communicates the breath of life itself. This vitality is felt in the lush, lacquered fruits and damp white reflections, artistically scattered over the glossy surface of the fruit, as well as in a freely flowing turquoise drapery.

Olesya also tries herself in the portrait genre. Perhaps, the expressive roots of her talent really come into the view here. They strike especially in Self-portrait by palette knife, which attracts with its excessively pastose texture and the tense surface of the canvas, which seems raw. Many details are only drawn approximately, succinctly, almost as if they are not necessary; but thanks to the latter, the emotional component of the image comes forward. The expression of the colours in the Self Portrait on the blue also captures an elusive instantaneous state of mind and energy of gaze. It is worth noting that both self portraits depict head and neck with sharp angles, which gives them a distinct artistry.

A few words should be said about Olesya’s oil landscapes, very different both in colour and in technique. Sometimes the spontaneity of the stroke and the riot of the texture make it necessary to balance her
work on the verge of abstraction. For example, in the painting Balaclava. Genoese Towers the outline of the landscape is almost lost, as if intentionally smeared with a palette knife, perhaps in order to enhance the imaginative beginning. Other canvases, on the contrary, are painted out with extraordinary love and thoroughness, such as The Wooden Terem Palace in Kolomenskoye or The Watermill on the River Zhuzha. The same series work The Ascension Church in Kolomenskoye impresses with its play of light in the discharged airspace. White blinding light, emerging through the stone arch and darkening gates, forms a tone perspective. The tent church itself seems to dissolve in the cold air. It feels distant, almost ephemeral.

Surprisingly, the artist manages to convey the impression of winter to the viewer, using a characteristic light-coloured play of falling snow, bluish in the shade and pinkish in the light. In contrast to all the abovementioned canvases, emerges the southern landscape Crete with a high horizon that consists of several seemingly layered plans. The landscape is deserted, only a lonely bus departs ahead. Precisely outlined arable land, round crowns of trees, mountain ranges and hills provide a peculiar rhythm, whereas the decorative flow of the colour and the conscious balance of the composition give the canvas a general major key. The viewers may face a paradoxical combination of monumental and humble at the same time.

Olesya undoubtedly considers creativity as a special sphere, a state of mind full of deep emotions and creative intentions. The artist has also managed to establish relations with the real living space. That is why the sense of harmony is so vividly expressed in her paintings. Olesya Rapotkina does not stop on what has already been achieved, she does not lose her inspiration, her thirst for knowledge or her sincere receptivity of life, nature, and peace. It seems that there are still many discoveries awaiting for the artist on her incredible journey.

You can learn more about and buy my works published in the article if you click the names below: Academic building No.5 of the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, Self-portrait by palette knife, Over a cup of tea, The blossoming Russia!, Self-portrait on the blue, Moscow Corner, Crete, Evening in Bolshoy Kharitonyevsky Lane. Moscow, Copy of I.I. Shishkin ‘In the forest of the countess Mordvinova. Peterhoff’, Still life with Pomegranates, Still life with Pears, Masjanya and Dunya, Mandarins, persimmons, Kolomenskoe (a series of 4 artworks), Deer Lake, Sweet dream, Balaklava. Genoese towers.