|ARINA GORDIENKO is a contemporary realist artist best known for her large scale figurative works. She was born in the most north-easterly region of Russia, in a small gold-mining settlement in Chukotka, part of the polar Arctic desert â€˜tundraâ€™; since 2005 she lives in the UK. She graduated with Masters Degree in Fine Arts from Chelsea College of Arts (University of the Arts London), also she studied at the famous Central Saint Martins College of Art in London and finished Art School in Russia with Distinction. She is recognised as Associate Living Master of prestigious Art Renewal Center in USA, a member of the Portrait Society of America, and a selected member of Society of Women Artists in the UK.
She has received numerous international prizes and awards in the UK, USA and Europe. Her paintings featured at Saatchi Gallery in London (UK), European Museum of Modern Art MEAM in Barcelona (Spain), Rehs Contemporary Galleries in New York (USA), Museum of Fantastic Art in Vienna (Austria), Museum of Modern Art Vittoria Colonna in Pescara (Italy), Museum Complex of Dioscuri and Museum Santâ€™Oreste in Rome (Italy) and many others in the UK, USA, Australia, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Check Republic, Belgium and India. Her paintings published in numerous art books, catalogues and magazines, including Reinhard Fuchsâ€™ book â€˜Masterpieces of Visual Arts - The Great Female Artists from the Middle Ages to the Modern Eraâ€™ in Austria, â€˜Masters of Contemporary Fine Artâ€™ and â€˜Masters of Paintingâ€™ in the UK, â€˜Strokes of Geniusâ€™ (Edition 4 & 6) in the US and â€˜Figurative Realismâ€™, the 100th Special Issue of the PoetsArtists Magazine in the US.
Arina widely proclaims revival of beauty in art and is passionately dedicated to renaissance of the realistic traditions in painting. She has developed her own significant and highly recognisable style, combining traditional classical techniques with surreal imaginative compositions and contemporary palette.
Contextual essay by Peter Monkman MA, Director of Art Charterhouse and First Prize Winner of the BP Portrait Awards 2009 at the National Portrait Gallery, London
Recently within contemporary art there has been resurgence in using the portrait genre as a tool to explore concepts that reach beyond pure appearance and likeness. As an artist that uses portraiture, I am drawn to examine what it is that makes certain figurative artists compelling. ARINA faces stand out from the crowd with a graphic signature style that is memorable.
The compositions have a bold directness with the monochromes and reds creating a visual language that communicates across cultures. Her use of light, composition and pose has a sense of a 17th Century Dutch artists like Vermeer but the use of scale, tone and reference to realism bring it firmly into the 21st Century. The qualities of her art have hints of her Russian background within the context of Western influences.
On close inspection ARINA's handling of paint is not of bold gestures but the quiet, slow build-up of tonal values which beautifully suggest the sensual surface of the skin and underlying bone structure. The lack of hair accentuates the features of the face with the folds of the head scarf contributing to the architecture of the head, creating an almost sculptural object. The repetition and slight variation of the compositions suggest film or photographic sequences and the flat red head scarf creates a colour-field that generates an interesting shifting pictorial space for the face to occupy.
ARINA uses herself as a vessel for her ideas; however, I would argue the paintings are not self-portraits. The likeness is striking and her expressions are beguiling; she occupies her face with the confidence of an actor trying to communicate to a broad audience. ARINA's portraits are ambiguous, she does not reveal too much about herself but presents an icon of a woman that can be contemplated and interpreted in many ways; this is where her paintings strength lies.