The Art of Vladimir Kush




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Published on Feb 12, 2008

Vladimir Kush' is a Russian born painter, who is identified with the metaphorical realism movement.

Born in 1965 in Moscow, he learned to draw at home and started attending an art school at the age of 7. He entered the Moscow art institute at 17, and when he went for his mandatory two years of military service at 18 was soon set to painting murals and canvases rather than regular infantry duties.

Bored with the Cézanne-style painting his art school concentrated on, Kush switched to surreal images as a teenager; he experimented with different styles of impressionism after seeing a book of Salvador Dalí's work in the late 1980s but it didn't appeal because shape was lost in the style. Strongly influenced by his father (a scientist), he believes that realistic paintings show the artist's professional skill and draw the viewer in so that they accept the impossible images enough to see the metaphors in them and explore the different layers of meaning.

In 1990 he showed works in Germany together with two other Russian artists; he visited Los Angeles for a show and stayed in the United States.


Kush Fine Times
Friday, March 29, 1965

Vladimir Kush
My American odyssey.

I was born in Russia, in small one-storeyed wooden house on the northern edge of Moscow, near the forest-park Sokolniki where in patriarchial times Russian Tsars were engaged in falconry.

My career as an artist began when I was a child of 3 or 4.

My father was a scientist, but everyone on his side of the family used to draw all the time. I remember, how in the long winter evenings I used to sit on my father's lap finishing his drawings: boy running on skis, an old man walking by with the cane...

Just then came to me the sensation of huge open spaces - I knew that beyond the nearby wood the snow-covered great Russian plain stretched on, unimpeded, for thousands of kilometers. And I conceived a dream to absorb the space into myself, to reach the edge of the earth- in the north, where the White Sea begins, or on the south, where Black Sea - Pontus Euxinus of Ancient Greeks - laps the steppes.

At the age of 7, I attended two schools, The first half of the day I went to regular high school. The second half was spent in the art classes until 9 p.m. While riding the subway for one and a half hours each way, I did my home-work for the regular school.

Art school was a world of a new inspiration. The class I attended allowed total artistic freedom. I learned much about the famous Renaissance painters, impressionists, post-impressionists, and contemporary artists. Here I painted my first surreal picture.

When I was 17, I took difficult exams and entered Moscow Art Institute.

When I was 18, I entered into a mandatory two-year stint of military service. After six months of infantry training, the commander of my unit decided that better use could be made of me painting murals and big canvases. Of course, I had to include military elements in these romantic or even fantastic landscapes. In one of those paintings, a radio transmitter was put on top of iceberg in the middle of an ocean.

In 1987, I began selling my paintings and exhibiting with the Union of Artists. At that time, I was invited to paint a series of portraits for the U.S. Embassy staff. I eventually had to curtail my work on these portraits after the KGB became suspicious of my involvement with Americans.

My father's influence at that time was enormous. He said that in ancient Greeve, art and math were considered alike. A mathematician, my father taught me that the plot of a painting must be like a code for solving a task, and as such, must crystal clear to capture the essence of a subject.

I had a successful show in Germany in 1990 with two other Russian Artists. I then flew to Los Angeles, where I had sent 20 of my recent works for a showing. This was a beginning of my American odyssey.

The dream about the wanderings across the wide open spaces, eventually brought me to the Hawaiian island of Maui - the World Navel, there the infinity of Great Ocean merges into the infinity of bottomless Cosmos. The "umbilical cord" connecting these open spaces, could be seen from windows of my shouse- it is a super-telescope through which the mankind for the first time saw the most ancient spots of our universe- places where drops of space condensing, turn into drops of time...

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    • David Arkenstone
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    • UMG (on behalf of EMI); Capitol CMG Publishing, Adorando Brazil, BMG Rights Management, BMI - Broadcast Music Inc., LatinAutor, and 2 Music Rights Societies


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