Ekaterina Kaminina & Iliya Lebedev

December 2011

About the exhibition

Contemplations is a joint exhibition of Ekaterina Kaminina and Iliya Lebedev re-interpreting time-honoured themes in a celebration of Contemporary Russian Realism.

Recently graduating from the Fine Art Academic in Moscow, Ekaterina specialised in monumental historical paintings and portraiture while Iliya completed Fedoskin Art School mastering the art of lacquer miniatures, associated with folkloric themes, portraits and landscapes. Arriving from very different perspectives, Ekaterina and Iliya represent the best of classical training and have an ongoing commitment to traditions of Russian Realism. Their exquisite skill and technical fluency translates into a light touch, unexpected colours and confident brushstrokes in a deeply thoughtful engagement with their subject matter.

The art of Ekaterina and Iliya provides a meticulous exploration of timeless themes. In Iliya’s paintings, The Way, a man is humbled before nature as the power of gathering storm clouds on the horizon represent his uncertain future. Ekaterina provides a close up of the internal contemplation of the artist at her easel and at her studies. Most hauntingly, in At the Window, the artist considers her uncertain prospects in the world beyond -- looking out the viewer as we look in.

These two artist define their style as Contemporary Russian realism.

From the artist

Artists always have difficulty talking about their paintings. Everything we wanted to say we have already expressed in them. Our pictures mostly relate how we see the present moment, or they are sketches of other people’s everyday lives through which we are trying to find answers to the big questions of life, or just to mull over people’s destinies, meaningfulness and the times we live in. We are fascinated by this world, by our contemporaries, by what they think about and feel, their relationships and personal histories, and their efforts to find recipes for happiness. We are curious, in short, about all the things people think about in the course of a lifetime.

We are interested also in historical topics, whose personages often feature in our paintings. It is tremendously exciting for an artist to immerse himself in a different era, to sense the ambience and charm of the past, to learn about the temper and customs of a time, and to see the participants in historical events not as characters from history but as ordinary human beings with all their fears and pain, their passions and anxieties.

We also like to travel, and from practically every journey we bring back sketches of sights which amazed us, of the peculiarities and uniqueness of other countries. That was the origin of our series of landscapes and genre paintings of Italy, Chernogorsk, Paris, Spain and Austria.


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