Last chance to catch Saatchi’s current show Full Circle: The Beauty of Inevitability, featuring works which blend art and science by the acclaimed Russian artist GeorgII Uvs. Closes on 3 February.
The exhibition, curated and produced by Eva McGaw and Tatiana Palinkas, mark the first solo exhibition of the artist in the UK. It presents a series of four recent oil paintings created by Uvs in Malta between 2014 and 2017. The explosive colors of these canvases, combined with the abstract, yet highly evocative, shapes that take form on the surface, bring us into a natural dream-like landscape. In case the visual impact was not immersive enough (which I doubt), the title will help transport yourself into the artist’s mind-maps.Entitled ‘Mesozoic’, ‘Genesis’, ‘Code’ and ‘Wings’, the works symbolise an immersive panorama of the cycles of life.
The canvas are huge, and the colors are vivid and impactful. They really seem peopled by spectral presences, primordial beings, or simply by all the natural elements. Fire, water, air, earth, all belong to the scientifically/abstract sperimentation of Uvs. Some of them almost recall the Rorschach test inky images, for the paint seem to flow unconsciously from one side of the canvas to the other.
Drawing on his scientific background, the artist offers the viewer a journey from the Mesozoic era, to Genesis and the creation of life, to the codes that embody intellectual development and knowledge, and, finally, to Wings, which reveals the return to a state of unfettered liberation and freedom. Through his fascination with mathematics, Uvs gives meaning to arithmetic as ‘Renaissance’, algebra as ‘Post- Impressionism’ and to high mathematics as ‘Abstraction’.
This fusion of scientific pursuit and artistic imagination has led Uvs to experiment with different single pigments and mixed ultraviolet reactive pigments. In doing so, he has pioneered a new approach to abstract art, a process that brings phenomenal significance and intense substance to his ever-changing works. The ultraviolet reactive pigments he uses to produce his large scale abstractions further create this enrapturing effects.
Uvs’ artistic practice has been developed and refined over four decades. His vibrant compositions appear to be created instinctively yet are, paradoxically, meticulously planned. Paint is poured onto un-stretched canvases laid horizontally on the studio floor. Uvs makes no direct contact with the paint but manipulates it with different tools from behind. Once his compositional objectives are achieved, he introduces an element of chance, allowing the artwork to interact with the environment. It is this technique, above all else, that defines Uvs’ artistic vision: the collision of art and nature.
The assembled works (some of which, due to the viscosity of the paint, take up to four years to dry) bring to mind geological formations in some and in others, galactic explosions. When the works are exposed to ultraviolet light, as they will be for this exhibition, they reflect the turbulence of the artist’s emotions and energy through the vivid colours and the physical action of his working process. Ultimately, Uvs’ works strive towards beauty, transmitted through their texture, composition and colour.