Publications · 06.06.2022

House of Culture No.3/2018 Artist Olesya Rapotkina

‘House of Culture’ No. 3/2018

An article about me in the March issue of the magazine ‘House of Culture’. ‘Panorama’ Publishing House, Moscow, No. 3/2018.


T. Ilyina, art critic, employee of the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Olesya Rapotkina is a person of universal talents. A graduate of K. Zhubanov Aktobe Regional University with a degree in Graphic Design, after university she did a computer graphics course. Olesya is a Painter, Graphic Artist, Designer. Portraits, landscapes, still lifes, Ex Libris and other works of the artist received awards at Russian andinternational exhibitions. Olesya Rapotkina is engaged in the development of logos and corporate identity, printing, web design, outdoor advertising, illustration, etc. She works in oil painting techniques, watercolors, pastels, etc., creates computer graphics. Olesya is a member of the International Art Foundation and Union of Designers of Moscow.

Expressive artworks were created by the artist in the genre of Ex Libris. Ex Libris (lat. ‘from books’) is a technique known since the Middle Ages, when every handwritten manuscript was precious, the form of a book sign with the name of the owner. Medieval bookplates, as well as the letters of manuscripts, were written by hand. Since the XV century, when the first printed books appeared in Germany, the creators of the bookplates turned to the technique of engraving – woodcut (woodcut), later to etching, lithography. The first masterpieces in this genre were created by the great Albrecht Durer. The magnificent masters of the Ex Libris in the twentieth century were Favorsky, A. Kravchenko, D. Bisti. Modern bookplates are most often impressions of a rubber cliche, computer technologies are also widely used.

Nowadays, an Ex Libris can become an excellent resource for supporting and promoting both a corporate and personal brand. In essence, this is an image-sign that speaks the most important, sometimes intimate things about its owner, about his interests and ideals. Despite its miniaturization and apparent simplicity, the Ex Libris has a powerful energy – after all, its images are rooted in the symbolism of ancient cultures, enriched with new shades of meaning over the centuries. And when an artist manages to penetrate into these deep layers of universal culture, then capacious and rich images arise.

So, in the Ex Libris of Virgilius Poviliunas about numismatics created by Olesya, the director of the Trakai Historical Museum, the figure of the little man with its ‘floating’ outlines resembles the most ancient clay idols, and the pyramid of coins on his head is the stepped volumes of ziggurat towers created also from raw clay, the memory of which has been preserved for centuries (from the biblical Tower of Babel to Lenin’s Mausoleum on Red Square).

In another Ex Libris, by Joseph Tadeusz Chosnyki, collector and organizer of Ex Libris exhibitions, the artist refers to the image of the sun, traditional for the mythologies of all Slavic peoples.

In her paintings, the artist often uses a palette knife. With this tool (flexible elastic steel spatula), you can apply paint to the canvas in large planes at once, creating a diverse surface relief – from dense glossy to light, breathable. The relatively fast work process allows you to keep the freshness offeelings and impressions. In Self-Portrait by palette knife (2012), the delicate mother-of-pearl iridescence of the background contrasts with the impetuosity of movement and energetic rhythms of the strands of hair applied with broad strokes, as if permeated by the morning sun.

In landscape works, starting from the natural vision, Olesya creates lyrical images. In the pastel Evening in Bolshoy Kharitonevsky Lane. Moscow (2013), a cold autumn wind is felt, stirring the branches that are already almost bare, with the last leaves. A lantern swinging in the wind casts an alarming light on them. The flexible, flowing lines of the tree branches seem to enter into a piercing dialogue with the geometrically faceted volumes of the building. It seems that the trees stretch from the homeless autumn garden to the softly glowing window, behind which you so want to see its inhabitants – and still can’t reach…

The Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye in the artist’s painting appears like a magical vision in a strict frame of black wrought-iron gates; but their gloom is immediately softened by the thin profiles of columns and delicate color reflexes on the arch of the white stone arch. Together with the artist, the viewer freezes in admiration in front of the gate, admiring how the silhouette of the tent tower, resembling a rocket taking off, transforms in the flickering radiance of a blizzard.

The landscape perfectly conveys the snow element in all its manifestations: the slow whirling of snowflakes in the air; the snowdrift sliding over the stones of the ancient pavement; the late-afternoon blue of  nowdrifts; a blizzard dissolving the strict “crystal” outlines of the famous church. The atmosphere conveyed in the painting – slightly gloomy and at the same time fragile and delicate – is very in tune with the very spirit of the Kolomenskoye estate, whose buildings are organically merged with the surrounding nature.

House of Culture No.3/2018 Artist Olesya Rapotkina
The critic Dunya evaluates the publication

You can learn more about my works published in the article by clicking on the titles below:
Self-portrait by palette knife, Evening in Bolshoy Kharitonevsky Lane. Moscow, Kolomenskoe (a series of 4 artworks), Mandarins, persimmons, Ex Librises.