In the Galleries: Denis Sarazhin at Arcadia Contemporaryby Matthew Innis |
When searching the internet last year for new artistic talent to introduce to his collectors, Arcadia Contemporary’s Steve Diamant was blown away by a series of paintings he stumbled upon on Instagram. Created by a painter from the Ukraine named Denis Sarazhin, these works – with their strong sense of color, texture, and design – immediately appealed to the gallery owner for their uniqueness. Diamant immediately reached out to the young man, and now after a year of collaboration, is proud and excited to be premiering new works by Sarazhin at the artist’s first solo exhibition with Arcadia.
Sarazhin, who was born in the small town of Nikopol in 1982, is a 2008 graduate of the Kharkov Art and Design Academy who discovered his love of art in much the same way Diamant discovered him: by chance. Originally a university graduate in the culinary arts, Sarazhin had decided to further his career prospects by enrolling in a computer design program at a technical college. While there, he found himself filling course requirements by attending drawing and painting classes which he soon realized were consuming his interest more than his initial choice of study. Spurred on by his new fascination, he decided to apply to the Kharkov Academy where he was accepted after passing the entrance exam – a miracle in Sarazhin’s opinion since the exam marked the very first time he drew a male figure from life. Despite those uncertain beginnings, however, Sarazhin founding himself leaving school a few years later with the 1st Degree Diploma Award for Excellence in Painting.
In his first solo show with Arcadia, Sarazhin is presenting works from his Pantomime and Dancing Men series, as well as samples from his Dreamer work. The latter group features portraits grounded with circular floral design elements, while the former revolve around frozen movement and static sequential movement (much as if several animation cels were painted and laid one upon another). In all, flattened space, color, and, especially, visual texture play important aesthetic roles. Also of importance are hands, which the artist uses as much as if not more than the rest of the human bodies to express emotion and character.
“I’m very impressed with plasticity, beauty, and the aesthetics and grace of the human figure,” says Sarazhin. “But it’s also the nonverbal language, which can say more than words. No words are able to surpass the force of expressiveness of the human body. There (are) simply so many expressions, feelings, and emotions hiding in the gestures of the figure.”1
Of Sarazhin, Diamant has expressed his appreciation of the artist’s unique style, which he likens to a 21st century Egon Schiele. (Schiele is in fact one of Sarazhin’s inspirations, as are Mikhail Vrubel, Nicolai Fechin, Jose de Ribera, and Mariano Fortuny. And if he hasn’t looked at Phil Hale yet, then he should check into him right away). Sarazhin is, according to Diamant, the exact artist a gallery like his looks for – someone whose signature style makes his works immediately recognizable.
Denis Sarazhin’s new paintings will be on view at Arcadia Contemporary from December 16th through the 31st. Though no official announcement has yet been made, the show will likely begin with an opening reception on the first night from 6pm until 9pm. For more information and updates, please visit ArcadiaContemporary.com.
Arcadia Contemporary is located at 9428 Washington Boulevard in Culver City’s Town Plaza. The gallery is open from 11am until 7pm, Tuesday through Sunday.
1 Michael Clawson, “Performance Art,” American Art Collector, December 2017, Issue 146, (International Artist Publishing, Inc., Scottsdale), p. 58.