Denis Sarazhin

🐅 🐅 🐅 tiger tiger tiger for ultimate March, a month that seems to have lasted forever, through meteorological disasters, the daily devastation of mass shootings, and the profoundly dangerous paranoid ravings of the moral monster Grabpussy. Oh yes, and the latest chapters in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the event that, quite by accident, relocated two artists from Kyiv to Chattanooga TN (in a state that is currently contending fiercely for the title of Gun Capital of the United States).

This is about one of them, Denis Sarazhin, who came to me through a reproduction of some of his remarkable paintings on Pinterest. In particular:

(#1) Pantomime No. 22 (2017); note the painfully contorted poses

From the Artsy site on DS:

Bio: Denis Sarazhin’s portraits focus on the communicative potential of the human body. The artist denies the viewer the affirmation of eye contact by frequently obscuring his subjects’ faces, preferring instead to convey meaning in the kinetic forms of his figures. In his “Pantomime” series of paintings, Sarazhin captures a dramatic sense of motion through his subjects’ contorted poses, reminiscent of the distorted figural works of Expressionist painter Egon Schiele. A skilled colorist, Sarazhin combines classic chiaroscuro painting techniques with a fresh and vibrant use of color that renders his figures fleshy and lifelike. Born in Ukraine, Sarazhin trained in the classic style of Soviet Realism at the Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts and has been a member of Kharkiv’s section of the Ukraine’s Artist Alliance since 2007. His works have been exhibited in the U.S., Ukraine, Germany, Spain, and Denmark.

From three years later:

(#2) On My Mind (2020); I sing the body electric … The curious sympathy one feels when feeling with the hand the naked meat of the body (Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855))

And then, from the remarkable “Bestiary” show at the Arcadia Contemporary gallery (421 W. Broadway, NYC), Dec. 8 – 29, 2022:

(#3) Rider with Two Crowns (2022) — the naked rider astride a muscular flying creature with three heads (equine, feline, and aquiline)

(#4) The gallery during the show

Apparently this show was already set up when in February 2022, Sarazhin and his wife, the painter Victoria Kalaichi, flew to Chattanooga TN to teach a workshop at the Townsend Atelier and for a solo show of her work, but while they were en route, Russia invaded Ukraine, leaving the two artists as homeless refugees when they arrived in Tennessee. American arts groups rallied to provide them with support to live and continue their work here, in Chattanooga. They live here, waiting with millions of other displaced Ukrainians to return and rebuild their country.

Arcadia now represents DS; a new show is apparently soon to open in NYC. Meanwhile, you can view the entire “Bestiary” show on-line. I recommend it.


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