March 16, 2020
March 16, 2020
October 17, 2019
Sergiy Hai is one of Ukraine’s most important contemporary artists. Born in the late 1950s, Serhiy Hai (better known in the Russian market as Sergiy Hai) gained an important regional reputation and has exhibited extensively in Ukraine, Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, and the United States. His work is in museum collections in Ukraine and in many private collections across Europe and in the United States. In 2019, he was chosen to represent Ukraine at the Florence Biennale.
This 2019 exhibition, is Hai’s fifth at TEW Galleries. The show features powerful paintings with typical strong design and an inventive approach to medium. Also included are bold figural ink wash drawings. As in the past, the scope of Hai’s typical imagery is quite narrow—he paints and draws nudes, figures, equestrian works and still life. These select themes are revisited over and over again in infinite variety and brought to life through the artist’s intimate perspective and impressive technique.
From a technical standpoint, Hai’s unique application of layered paint can, at times, be heavily applied, while in other instances, manifests as barely discernable washes of color. His virtuosity is undeniable; so too, is his use of smoky-rich tonalities which lend great drama to his works. The artist’s imagery is high impact, with little that is pictorially extraneous. His subjects are forthright; direct and simple without being simplistic or in any way naïve and the paintings, while masculine, are luscious and extraordinarily sensual.
Hai’s unpretentiously quick and direct approach to painting displays a lack of sentimentality but also has an extraordinarily gentle aspect; while his love of sinuous, lyrical line, cherished settings and evocative chromatism is entirely seductive.
Hai’s art invites viewers to join his reverie by suggesting outcomes yet leaving the narrative squarely in the observer’s own imagination.
̶ Jules Bekker, 2019
October 5, 2019
Occasionally we come across an artist whose work immediately feels right and TEW is pleased to introduce the painter Amy Donaldson to our gallery clients.
It is not often that we find an artist with really solid technical skills and a mature visual voice. Amy Donaldson fits the bill on both scores and, to cap things off, her work is, simply put, satisfying and beautiful.
Donaldson’s mark making and paint application is energetic and robust with decisive brush strokes. Her paint runs the gamut of thin washes of color to thick slabs of oil and her marks change from lyrical lines drawn with a paintbrush, to stabs of color, applied fast and intuitively.
She is influenced by impressionistic landscape, of that, there is no doubt, but Donaldson also has a deep understanding of abstraction, compositional elements and spatial visualization. Her works are both dense and airy and, as the eye moves across the canvas, there is always a surprise, or an energetic interaction between marks, or color and brush strokes. Her work reminds one of the riparian edges of stream beds or ponds, of wildflowers in thick grass, of reflections of sunlight and sky on the water’s edge.
These are livable paintings…alive paintings…that invoke the sensation of a deep draught of air on a clear day. Other interpretations may be divine flow or divine communication, but, however you see her work, you will also feel the energy behind it.
̶ Jules Bekker, 2019
July 30, 2019
A few years ago I wrote a blog titled “Why is art so expensive?” The topic came up again recently so I decided to revisit the subject, this time hoping to clarify some of the confusion about art as investment caused by news of artworks selling for millions of dollars.
The fact is, that very little art will ever provide a solid return for the financial investment, especially in the short run. The only thing you can be sure of, is the aesthetic, emotional and/or intellectual enjoyment that comes from buying and living with art you love. However, because collecting art becomes more challenging as prices rise, it’s important to put pricing in a context that is understandable. To do so, let’s start with artists.
Unlike most professions for which a university degree provides the training to get a good paying job almost immediately, for an artist, this is only the beginning and it generally takes years to develop the skills and, more importantly, the vision, to create work that will stand out in the marketplace. Personal experience has led me to believe that most artists won’t hit their stride until they are in their thirties. This means many lean years at the start and the income they sacrifice during this time often has to be caught up once their careers bloom. Additionally, many artists create highly individualistic artworks that can only be appreciated by a limited number of collectors, thus these artworks are more expensive because the cost of producing and selling them isn’t altered because less people want them. We’ve also got to consider all the costs artists share: daily living expenses, art materials, running a studio—whether it’s a room in their apartment or separate space required for larger work— insurance, shipping, websites, photography, additional education, travel and advertising. On top of this, virtually all successful artists rely on galleries to publicize their art, build their careers, instill confidence in collectors and transact sales. This means that the costs of running a gallery: salaries, rent, utilities, marketing, publicity, insurance, office supplies, shipping, travel and entertainment, get added to the prices. And, as reputations can’t be manufactured out of thin air, typically the more credible and established the gallery is, the higher their expenses are.
Because we live a world of mass produced and cheaply made goods, it’s perhaps natural to think that artists would sell a lot more art if their prices were lower, but lower prices for remarkable art won’t make it more accessible or understandable. Only education and exposure do this, and they aren’t easy, cheap, or quick for artists or galleries to acquire and then to pass on to the public. Thus, unless you’re going to buy art from student artists just starting their careers or novices, or you happen to be one of the rare people who has the knowledge and innate ability to recognize what almost everyone else misses, you’re going to find that art always seems expensive. This is why I encourage collectors to think of art like a vacation and, instead of asking how much what they collect is going to appreciate in value, to value it first in terms of enjoyment, and then decide if it is worth the expense.
Ultimately, collecting art you love is a benevolent process because you understand that by bringing beauty into your life, you’re also supporting a network of people involved in a process that is far larger than it appears to be on the surface. Otherwise, without this realization, prices won’t make sense and you’ll miss the invigorating, enjoyable experience of living with art.
TEW Galleries – One of Atlanta’s Leading Contemporary Fine Art Galleries since 1987