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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

hue surprises.

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

in Russia.

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

Andrei Zadorine, Marsha Child Contemporary, 220

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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