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This article by Pat Summers was prepared for the October 18, 2000
edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Zadorine’s Warm Glow
Modern art has long felt the decisive influence of
two natives of Belarus — Kasimir Malevich and Marc Chagall. Is
40-year-old Andrei Zadorine a candidate to succeed them? Marsha Child,
the American representative for Zadorine (pronounced Za-DOOR-in),
is betting on him. The painter’s recent oils and watercolors are the
focus of a solo exhibition at Marsha Child Contemporary on Alexander
Street. Zadorine, now a resident of the Netherlands, will attend the
opening reception on Friday, October 20, from 5 to 9 p.m. The show,
which includes 13 oils, will remain on view through November 21.
Born in Belarus, a part of the former Soviet Union, and subject first
to Russian limitations on his art and then to the freedom that came
with perestroyka, Zadorine has also been influenced by a range of
seemingly disparate artists and schools in his relatively short career
as an artist. Rembrandt, Andrew Wyeth, Alberto Giacometti, Frederico
Fellini, and Michelangelo Antonioni all figure in his artistic
with the result that his paintings are cited for their linear as well
as their pictorial qualities, and their earthy palette with very few
Typically a warm glow suffuses Zadorine’s paintings, with
tones of beige and tan, through golds and oranges, to rusts and browns
prevailing. Sometimes a bright light seems to illumine the figures,
bleaching out skin tones and individualizing details, such as
Zadorine’s people are related in their seriousness: their eyes are
often little more than horizontal strokes, and grins or even smiles
are nonexistent. Instead, they may look out at the viewer, if not
at one another, straight-faced, impassive. Surfaces of Zadorine’s
paintings can look scratchy, a result of his scraping the brush handle
over wet paint. This practice, coupled with his subjects’ look of
posing for a camera, contributes to the suggestion of a vintage
the look of aged celluloid.
Zadorine was born near Berezovka, a town in the Russian Ural
and grew up near Minsk (then considered an intellectual enclave) in
Belarus. His father was an engineer; his mother, a cardiologist; and
he himself was always drawing, having been introduced early in his
life to black-and-white reproductions of Rembrandt’s work.
in 1980 Zadorine attended the art academy in Minsk for four years,
learning — of necessity — to produce sanctioned social realist
art; such art served the state with recognizable form and social
Surprisingly, perhaps, he was aware at the same time of the work of
Andrew Wyeth, whose interiors and landscapes were attracting attention
From 1987 to 1991, Zadorine studied with Michael Savitsky, a state
artist, gaining the chance to work professionally with a good salary,
art supplies, and a studio. However, his work evolved away from the
acceptable "academic" painting style, and toward
painting, or "formalism," with an emphasis on form and color
that his teacher rejected. His first trip to Paris put Zadorine in
direct proximity with French Cubists and the Parisian school, with
the effect that his palette grew much warmer and his work looked more
sketch-like, more modern. Then and now he eschewed abstraction,
that only in figurative painting is a human approach to reality
At about this point, when he seemed torn between his
talent for drawing and modern painting — the linear and the
— Zadorine revisited Paris and discovered the bronze sculptures
of Alberto Giacometti, which showed him the harmony that is possible
between sketchy details, expression, and atmosphere. The same delicate
balance was also evident in Giacometti’s drawings and paintings.
a felicitous merging of his drawing and pictorial skills, Zadorine
moved toward conveying a person’s identity through that individual’s
personal atmosphere, rather than through details.
The artist’s love for Italian cinema of the 1960s and ’70s caused
him to recognize a shared interest in childhood memories, melancholia,
and capturing moods. In Fellini and Antonioni, images can supplant
words; narrative becomes secondary to atmosphere. Once again, Zadorine
adapted these approaches to his own medium, aiming to convey emotion
with an image instead of a narrative. Some of his motifs — apples,
toys, a tea kettle, for instance — serve as allusions to a memory
or a feeling, rather than to a story. A picture by Zadorine can be
regarded as a still from a memory — or a reality — that he
has selected, frozen in time, and then manipulated to achieve the
image he wants.
Last year Zadorine discovered old family photographs from the ’30s,
which sent him in new painting directions. The long exposure time
necessary then, requiring photography subjects to sit still for
at a time, resulted in photographs that seemed to reveal their true
natures. Similarly, in Zadorine’s paintings, the time formerly needed
to expose the film is now advisable for studying one of his pictures,
and seeing the subject’s character seem to slowly become visible.
A retrospective catalog of Zadorine’s work has been published in
with the show. Its commentary on Zadorine’s recent paintings includes
the observation that "he paints as a sculptor, a photographer,
and a film-maker all at the same time," while still loving the
medium of paint. Consider this work closely and see if you agree.
— Pat Summers
Alexander Street, 609-497-7330. Opening reception for a solo
of new paintings by visiting European artist. Show continues to
21. Free. Friday, October 20, 5 to 9 p.m.
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