Painting by Sergey Bryukhanov is of museum quality. The appealing quality of his paintings is equally appealing to different types of viewers. A versed spectator with the experience of contemplating paintings by old and modern masters will be able to appreciate the richness and the diversity of the plastic vocabulary of the artist. Someone who is not accustomed to or is not inclined to go into the complexity of visual forms will feel the emotional aspect of his painting. The release of the energy of colors in the paintings by Bryukhanov always fills the viewer with a certain emotion, one way or the other. According to the artist, searching with the help of color brings him the greatest pleasure. Fortunately, the personality of Sergey Bryukhanov includes two qualities – “author”, who creates the brilliant "painting of color fields", and "commentator" who understands how to convey the semantics of pictorial image to an inquiring viewer. Perhaps this is what attracts numerous students to the master, who is able to provide them not only with applied skills (which is quite important in itself), but also with an understanding of how craft acquires philosophical dimension. Art "should help a person to realise his spiritual nature, and modern art is no exception.”
Sergey Bryukhanov is an artist with an established reputation, who has won his place in the modern art life of Russia. Already back in the mid 1980s a famous Russian art critic A. M. Kantor noted the emergence of a vivid art school in Nizhniy Tagil; on behalf of an art critic Vladimir Nazansky, this school was wittily called "Nizhniy Tagil anomaly". Indeed, the fact of the emergence of two dozen bright "young talents" in a small old town – the centre of metallurgy and arms industry, is something inexplicable. Especially as in the years of study at the department of fine and graphic arts, the artists belonging to this group, including Sergey Bryukhanov, started sending their drawings to international exhibitions, for instance, to Krakow, and immediately acquired international recognition. In the early 1990s, works by Bryukhanov were selected for the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery, and later for the Russian Museum. The Nizhny Tagil school, which emerged in the late 1970s – early 1980s includes artists of different character, who share deep interest in the plastic component of the artistic image and prefer abstract form of expression to figurative art. However, for Sergey Bryukhanov the line between abstract and figurative always remains conditional and permeable. By his own definition, "nature as a form is a limitless plastic dictionary, inexhaustible in beauty and harmony", however, the image in his painting is very far from the full-scale image, of what comes to be known as “motive”. The exhibition in the VS Unio gallery presents two new series by Sergey Bryukhanov, painted in 2015-2016, that have not been previously exhibited. The series "Plein air. "Olive grove", was created in Greece on the island of Zakinthos, where Sergey Bryukhanov started going in 2012 in the framework of the private educational project "Academy of master". In the series of paintings, the artist organically combines the elements of the real landscape with the methods of abstract compositions, so that the image of the painting evokes a number of personal associations in each viewer. In the polyptych "Mimesis. Synthesis of metaphors”, painted in 2016, there is no clear connection with the full-scale image; the reality is transformed by means of "shimmering vibration of pure color" which then becomes a defining element of the work. These series not only characterise the present stage of Bryukhanov’s work, but, in a sense, formulate two important components of his pictorial language. "Plein air. Olive grove". 2015 Work in Greece on the island of Zakinthos opened a new important stage for Bryukhanov. In the paintings of this series the familiar motives of the Greek landscape are easily recognisable: houses, plants, earth, stone, sea. At first glance, the paintings of smaller format are perceived as sketches from nature, which is something the artist himself disagrees with, for whom "in-depth work with nature" does not mean practice that is associated with impressionism. These small works are a sort of improvisation “regarding something”. Accordingly, there’s much more of a moment of reflection and interpretation of the natural experiences in the composition of the "big painting". Big paintings, in their turn, are not a precise repetition of such plastic ideas: it is not only the scale of paintings that changes, but the color solution and the arrangement of light, sometimes to an extent that the connection with the original version is barely perceptible.
In the paintings of the series "Plein air" recognisable signs of real scenery are not as important as the feeling of the inner life of objects, which is expressed through the work of the artist with color. In each painting there is a certain color dominant, white combines the properties of color and light and as if "transmits" the energy of the bright Mediterranean light, that has always caught the imagination of artists coming from the North.
The artist gives an opportunity to experience "the moment of transition of colorful matter as physical substance in the status of the image", acquiring a sense of involvement in the very process of creation. The release of color, its vibration and the texture of the colorful spot allow you to express the exact definition of what Sergey Bryukhanov calls "the energy of landscape". Polyptych "Mimesis. Synthesis of metaphors". 2016 The polyptych represents a new stage of "synthetic" series by Sergey Bryukhanov, who has already had such works as "Synthesis of genres" and "Synthesis of elements". It consists of seven paintings of unusual narrow format with an active vertical dominant. Sergey Bryukhanov has his own relationship with the number "7" to which he gives a particular symbolic meaning, and often creates sevenfold "spectral" works. The number "seven" for the artist is primarily associated with the seven colors of the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, violet. The desire for polyphony, for the symphony of colors, for the representation of the spectrum in its entirety distinguishes the painting of Bryukhanov of different periods. In the logic of reasoning of the artist, the spectrum is not just a "symbol of the entirety of color," but it can "refer symbolically to the entirety of points of view, to the entirety of being, of aesthetic preferences and experiences". Thus, the color spectrum also reflects a variety of emotional states.
In contrast with the series of "Plein air. Olive grove" narrow canvases of the second series seem to be weightless. The artist withdraws the usual laws of gravity and compositional tectonics, ultimately simplifying the lower part of the paintings. Each of the paintings of the polyptych is "responsible" for its color spectrum; however the bigger part of the canvas is filled with white, which includes the entire color spectrum. Our eye distinguishes the grid left by the artist, that introduces an analytical component and brings in a trace of topography. The interpretation of white is a striking combination of simplicity and complexity, where white is both transparent and dense, and is defined equal to light, but still keeps the tactile materiality. It is the white that is perceived as the key metaphor of the absolute.
For the artist himself, the white color in these paintings is close in meaning to the background of the Roman or Byzantine frescoes, indicating some kind of transcendental space, in which the figures seem to float. The expanse of this complex work does not imply the presence of the figures, but the effect of floating certainly occurs. We read the composition from the bottom upwards, following the intricate playing of texture, which flows smoothly, and at the top becomes more dense and expressive; the color becomes certain and rich, until our eye rests on the line, conventionally indicating the horizon. The skyline brings us to the heavenly element, and also has a metaphorical meaning, because, by the expression of Sergei Bryukhanov, "everything essential befalls in heaven.”