“The universe is made of stories, not atoms,” said American poet and public figure Muriel Rukeiser. The stories of artists who were and remain a treasure of Ukrainian art of the XX-XXI centuries are eloquent and unique. Women artists occupy a powerful, iconic, meaningful place in the artistic elite of Ukraine. Objectively, their number compared to male artists was and remains smaller. However, it is historically recognized that the scale of personalities, the strength of talent, and the depth of intelligence generously compensate for statistical imbalances.
A wide range of creative preferences of the artists is presented in the museum art hall – still lifes and landscapes with characteristic features of impressionism, seasonality, minimalism, abstractionism. Drawing on the portrait genre as an appropriate visual tool for storytelling, the exhibition hall number 2 logically brings together a powerful gallery of female images created by women artists. The self-portrait, a pervasive exhibition motif, provokes reflections on the self-identification of women both in art and in society. The artistic view of male artists on the role of women in personal and public life is reproduced in the exhibition hall number 1, which allows you to join the conditional cultural dialogue through space, time and gender.
A representative of a prominent dynasty of artists, art critics, restorers, and teachers, the sunny impressionist Anna Krueger-Prahova, a graduate of the Delecluse Academy in Paris and the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts, together with her sister’s husband, the brilliant painter Oleksandr Murashka. , The “forerunner” of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts, because the progressive methods of teaching in it became the basis for the curriculum of the Academy, which was opened later in 1917.
Legendary artists Tetiana Yablonska and Vira Barynova-Kuleba have been teaching at the Kyiv State Art Institute (now National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture) for many years, forming generations of artists who have emerged as original and stellar representatives of Ukrainian contemporary art. Despite all the difficulties of overcoming the ideology and stereotypes of the patriarchal artistic environment of the Soviet era, the artists managed to be creatively realized and take a prominent place in the history of art. In addition, Tetiana Yablonska influenced the development of the artistic worldview and virtuoso skill of her talented daughters – Olha Otroshchenko and Haiane Ataian.
Tetiana Krasna, Liudmyla Zahorna, Iryna Makarova-Vysheslavska, graduates of the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture of different years, travelers of unpredictable routes of life and art, continue to work actively, improve themselves and exhibit. Kyiv artists Ilona Siliashi and Olena Ryzhykh send self-sufficient artistic messages based on their parents’ creative achievements, but it is not everything what they do.
During the Soviet era, innovation and a certain free-thinking in culture were provoked by the so-called period of Khrushchev’s “thaw” in the 1960s. The realm of art magnetically attracted the talented young people of that time as a space of opportunities. Dissident and monumentalist Alla Horska (Kyiv) and nonconformist and idea generator Luda Yastreb (Odessa) not only realized their own creative ideas, but also acted as informal leaders of artistic communities. Odesa resident Svitlana Yusim, an architect by education, ignoring fleeting trends, consistently builds abstract painting. Both Nina Denisova from Kyiv and Nina Buriak from Lviv have now resorted to abstractionism, but their syncretic pictorial images-symbols, created in the 1990s, are still relevant today both in design and manner.
After studying at the Krakow and Vienna Academies of Arts and studying in the Paris studio of the constructivist Fernand Leger, Margit Selska-Reich developed the ideas of European modernism throughout her creative life. She had a great creative influence on her husband, teacher and ideologist of the Lviv School of Arts ,Roman Selskyi. One of his students at the Lviv State Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts (now LNAA) was Lesia Dovzhenko from Kyiv, a worthy representative of the well-known Dovzhenko family, monumental artists and architects. The Lviv Academy also became an alma mater for Alla Honcharuk, whose artistic language is based on early Byzantine icon painting, French Impressionism and German Expressionism. The bright representatives of the Transcarpathian school of painting Edita Medvetskaya and Irina Beklemisheva are characterized by sharpness and clarity, musical rhythm, rich color chords and bold style of writing.
Why are there great women artists in Ukraine? It’s all about the personal stories of artists on the epic background of Ukrainian history: overcoming external and internal social, political, economic stereotypes, listening to their own desires, hobbies, feelings, thoughts, hardworking and persistent development of their talent, they confidently, inevitably and brilliantly made their live choices.