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Characterized by his deeply honest means of expression and fascination with Orientalism, Surrealism, and social commentary, Moscow painter Stanislav Plutenko brings his vivid dreams to life.
Like a rush of blood to the head, inspiration for his next painting overwhelms Moscow realist Stanislav Plutenko with authority — and the artist must act quickly to record his visions before they fade. “At times when I look at the snow-white canvas in front of me, I see obscure images and my mind tries to freeze the moment and not lose any of those feelings or visions,” he writes. “I try to complete and develop these visions in order to transmit the fragile world that I see onto the canvas.” For Plutenko, this fragile world, experienced during his travels abroad to Asia, the Middle East, and India, are focused and reinterpreted artistically.
He continues, “Inspiration comes like a hallucination or a vivid dream that only children have. With time, these dreams become bleaker, fainter, and disappear. First, I feel nostalgic, then the artistic drive takes over, I dissolve into the canvas, losing all track of time.”
“Cock Fight” is a representative example, recording Plutenko’s observations from India, Pakistan, and the Middle East. As he draws upon his love of Orientalism, we find an energetic group of men who crowd around a pair of cocks, their feathers raised in powerful, aggressive fashion. Despite the painting’s subject, the painting is — in fact — an intense study of emotion, individuality, culture, and expression. Plutenko writes, “This painting is an illustration of human passions and the human character. There are mixed emotions in this work — the excitement of the approaching victory, greed, cruelty, and disappointment. So many emotions at the same time — a treasure trove for genre painting.” Indeed, each onlooker is treated with astonishing sensitivity, their expressions, gestures, individuality, and emotions captured with clarity. The captivating composition and attention to each character recall the traditional works of Baroque masters and has a timeless quality.
“Christ in the Desert” is a fantastic modern reinterpretation of a traditional artistic theme. Sitting at center among piles of rubbish and debris, a weary Christ appears in worn white and green robes. Christ does not engage the viewer, but gazes downward with a saddened expression. “This painting is how I see the second coming of Christ,” writes the artist. “War and urbanizations have ravaged the land, physically and spiritually. Who should be saved? Who will listen to the truth?”
Especially fascinating is how open Plutenko is to his artistic communication, describing himself like a chef who has several key ingredients or spices at his disposal. He writes, “I am like a chef who has several spices (themes) in my arsenal — Romanticism and sugar, Surrealism and salt, Orientalism and spice, the grotesque and hot peppers. I mix everything and hope to nourish the world with the ‘soup.’”
Indeed, Surrealism comes to the fore in works like “Tree-Cloud,” which recalls the famous poetic tale The Little Prince by French poet Antonie de Saint-Exupéry. The painting here shows an otherworldly escape in the clouds. Plutenko describes, “‘Tree-Cloud’ is my escape from the big world into a tiny, quiet and cozy world.”
In the future, Plutenko wants to continue pushing his artistic boundaries and working in a variety of mediums. “There are times that I wish to get away from the usual subject matter and paint a series of works that are uncharacteristic of my usual style,” he asserts. “Maybe someday I will do something under a pseudonym!”
Plutenko is currently represented through a number of galleries and private collections in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Monaco, Finland, France, Switzerland, and the United States at Gallery on Fifth in Naples, Florida.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine.
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.