Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago
2249 W. Superior St.
Chicago, Illinois 60612
It’s not every day you get the opportunity to peer into the soul of one of the 100 living geniuses – and even sip some wine with him.
On Friday June 28, Chicagoans will have the pleasure of meeting the abstract expressionist Ivan Marchuk. Then, for seven weeks in June, the Ukrainian National Museum will host an exhibition of his mesmerizing paintings – including the riveting landscape series “Voice of My Soul”.
The son of a master weaver, Marchuk coined his elaborate, critically acclaimed painting technique “plyontanism,” from the Ukrainian “to weave, strap, entwine”. His paintings appear to be woven from thousands of snarls of tempura thread. Layered into a dense web of pigment, these super fine filaments create a luminous, enamel-like depth of field, entwining stark polarities: good with evil, harmony with discord, beauty with grotesqueness, nature with technology, life with death.
Banned from the Union of Artists in Soviet Ukraine for refusing to conform to socialist realism in the 1980s, Marchuk found a home for his genius in Australia, Canada, and the US. His enigmatic landscapes, and surreal psychic-scapes were extolled by Pablo Picasso’s biographer, esteemed art critic Roland Penrose.
His evocative mastery has been praised in Belgium, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In 1996 independent Ukraine awarded him the country’s highest artistic distinction: the Shevchenko National Prize. Marchuk returned to Kyiv in 2001, were he still lives, ruminates, and creates.
From surreal Chornobyl induced vast destruction, to hyperrealist intimate portraits, to fantastically dream-like florals, it’s impossible not to stop, stare, and ponder these works of passion and precision. Four decades of genius artistry is yours to peruse at the Ukrainian National Museum.
Don’t miss it.