Ukrainian painter Mykola Bilous appropriates for his paintings documentary shots or film pictures. These borrowed real or fictitious scenes are carefully remade by the painter. The author jnalways relies upon colours to appropriate mise-en-scenes with human figures, arrangement of items, landscapes and interior sceneries. Every motif appears repainted in unnatural bright colours. Like in battle, hunting or nature, the camouflaging diversity of colours performs certain functions. The action on a “canvas screen” is as if masked by a play and shimmer of bright colour spots and shadows.
The titles of paintings like On the threshold, Peninsula, New Year, Ghost or Breakfast only serve as a hint without a clue to the full perception of the plot. At first glance, Belous’ works seem to be full of enjoyment of life. Bright decorative compositions of colours and sounding rhythms capture viewers’ attention. However, this first impression is soon to evaporate. If you look more carefully, the abstract compositions turn to be multi-figured, whereas enjoyment is soon replaced by anxiety.
In his paintings, Bilous’ invokes Western pop art and its ironic interpretations found in Russian and Ukrainian Socialist Pop Art. However, both the optimism of American pop artists and the sarcasm of his fellow-countrymen are foreign to Belous. Compared to the one and the other, he is rather a melancholic. Belous art work is quite strongly influenced by the art of his generation, representing post-medial art expressions. Yet, he finds an individual path at the same time.
Bilous’ balancing between abstraction and visual art, as well as the use of secondary reality, displays a conceptual character. Concurrently, the painter pays equal attention to the circumstances of his paintings. The Ukrainian artist challenges the power of images and masks them with a camouflage of colours until he finally returns meaningfulness to them. He virtuously plays with the compositions of bright open colours and restrained matted ones, eloquently using the effects of light.
The exhibition was called JUST COLOUR. However, it is more an impetus for discussion, and I would rather call it JUST COLOUR?.
Prof. dr. Raminta Jurėnaitė
Mykola Bilous invented a new method of harmonising colours through inversion. But inversion, change of colours, has its own rules. The first one is using a basic tone (mix of three main colours – red, blue, and yellow), the second one is putting a light layer of open colours using a principle of complimentary, that is, connection between main and additional colours, which are
entirely opposite. These rules were developed by the theorists of the Bauhaus school.
Furthermore, Mykola Bilous uses the basic tone as shadow, and colours as light. He works with open colours. For him, black colour is just an air, which is excluded from a main composition. It seems like figures of heroes are brightly illuminated at night, or it seems like a condition of theatrical scene, where background is darken. A plot of an artwork is secondary for the artist, comparatively to a colour decision. It is a combination of open colours without undertones.
Moreover, combination of relief and posterity, for the author, combines two spaces – sculptural and optical, so artworks are in the same time plane and volume. This formal decision is absolutely original and has a little bit another semantic line, than a plot line of the artwork itself. Massif and arrangement of colours have principal meaning.
Finally, Mykola Bilous is a post-medial artist, in his art often turning back to the field of painting film pictures, which were previously appropriated by cinema operators from the classics of painting. Project “JUST COLOUR” includes artworks of different years and projects; however, eight artworks were specially created for the Lithuanian audience and will be shown in Vilnius
for the first time.