Exhibition Ended Sunday 14 October 2012. Artworks are still available for sale. Please email email@example.com with your enquiry.
A U R O R I A N D A W N by Dmitry Trashkov
21 September – 14 October 2012
From my rotting body,
flowers shall grow
and I am in them
and that is eternity
- Edvard Munch
Dmitry Trashkov, a BFA graduate from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in Christchurch, New Zealand, now based in Melbourne.
This exhibition, Aurorian Dawn, showcases his aptitude for graphic art, rather than illustrating romantic fantasies for their own sake; instead seeks to create metaphysical and open-ended symbolic and esoteric dream worlds. Trashkov’s atmospheric mixed media works, full of menace and mystery, draw inspiration from the magical folktales of his native Russia, and an entire history of countercultures, from nineteenth century fin-de-siècle Symbolism and Decadence through to twenty-first century Metal and Goth.
Moody painters like Fernand Khnopff, Alexandre Benois, Victor Vasnetsov, Jan Toorop, Arnold Böcklin, Mikhail Vrubel, and particularly Edvard Munch are obvious visual touchstones as ways of setting up ghost stories without narrative and ambiguous mystical visions.
The philosophical cinematic aesthetics of Lars von Trier and Andrey Tarkovskiy also seem to resonate. Entropy, illness, death and decay are always present in these tonally de-saturated and chilly-looking Arcadias. These are intensely psychological works, studies of personality created by conflict with melancholy, ennui, and existential angst.
At the same time they are records of the invented inhabitants of a universe that co-exists with ours, but intangible and invisible. They are also somewhat random, like the spectres of a slightly racy Edward Gorey story. Who are these ghosts, fallen angels and lamias? But then, that’s on a need to know basis, and only the artist needs to know.
By rejecting the conceptual and material tropes of contemporary art, Trashkov deliberately places himself in the role of an anachronistic outsider more comfortable with the lost cultural byways of the past than an increasingly superficial and technologically mediated present. It is probably natural for the soul drawn to moody beauty to be drawn back in time to seek solace in half-remembered, half-invented fantasies about a past or timeless present suffused with supernatural happenings and enigmas.
The mind must enter open and receptive to the eddies and currents of the art’s aura.
The art works are infused with death, sickness, decline and despair, but at the same time contain a tonal poetry of considerable beauty. One thinks of Keats’ odes for their lush naturalistic imagery, supreme artistry, and mortal resignation. Several of the works take place in wild natural settings – perhaps a forest. These settings represent the unknown, a sacred place that is a separate world where all the magic happens – a place of origin, of beginnings, something wild, dark, unknown and perhaps even frightening; the unknowable ‘something’.
The forest is also, as implied by Nietzsche, a symbol of the subconscious mind in which the conscious mind is a clearing occasionally entered by gods of either Apollonian or Dionysian aspect. The forest is the realm of the psyche and a place of testing and initiation, of unknown perils and darkness in which inner darkness of uncertainty is confronted and resolved whence the viewer emerges at a higher level of humanity. Or perhaps the bleakly carnivorous eroticism and pale desperation will make the viewer something more bestial?
- Andrew Paul Wood