«There exist many painterly manners. However, it is not the manner that matters, but the ability to see beauty» (Alexei Savrasov, the painter)

All exhibitions:

Mikhail Abakumov|| "Romanticists in Realistic Art:"
7.03.2008 — 20.04.2008

7 March to 20 April 2008, the Art Prima Gallery invites you to a solo exhibition of Mikhail Abakumov, People’s Artist of Russia. This one-man show is dedicated to the sixtieth jubilee of the painter. The exhibit includes over a hundred paintings illustrating different stages of the master’s work.

A long-forgotten feeling of spontaneous happiness, common only in childhood, is suddenly evoked with the first glance at the paintings by Mikhail Abakumov. Sheer amazement similar to the childish cry of surprise: “Wow! That’s cool!” makes it almost impossible for us to scrutinise every painting properly. You take them in hastily, like wild strawberries you are picking up in the wood – every new berry looks more appetizing than the previous one! Only after you have finished your brisk examination the ability to analyze returns and you can sort out what you have just seen.  

What you find on the canvases of Mikhail Abakumov cannot be called landscapes or still lifes or interiors. This is sheer bliss or the state when you feel a secure, unreserved trust in being part of this world, the state which grown-ups have completely forgotten in the bustle of our everyday life. What a joy it is to watch clouds running across the sky or lilacs blooming or snow melting! Isn’t it happiness to live in this country and be able to admire its beauty? While your inner grown-up self says, “The sky cannot be so blue or rowan berries so red, grass can never be so green and the sun is never so bright – everything looks exaggerated. Too much of a good thing!” but the child inside you retorts, “They can look like these! You just try to avoid looking at the sky, crash branches of rowan trees, tread the grass and look away from the sun.” 

Mikhail Abakumov, like a magician, assembles everything which he finds beautiful in Russian landscape to appear on his canvases and generously shares the treasure with us. A virtuoso painter, Abakumov makes his every picture, no matter how small in size it may be, look artistic and affluent, for the master always chooses the task precisely and knows exactly what means will enable it to look dainty and beautiful. At Abakumov’s solo exhibitions one may see quite respectable gentlemen who, literally, have their noses stuck in his pictures as if trying to solve the riddle, “How could the painter make this or that doodle look like a man, or a dog, or a tree, or a house?” They get so involved in the process that they absolutely forget about everything around. The magician, however, makes his tricks in front of their eyes but does not disclose how he does them. What can be more intriguing?

Mikhail Abakumov’s paintings are full of bright beaming light, dramatic vicissitude of light and shade and pure solid colour – all that, matched with free dynamic brushwork, creates a special buoyant disposition. His imagery world is understandable. It is generous and exuberant. The sky in his world is blue, the grass is green and the road promises a long happy life ahead, exactly like in the fairy tales of our childhood.