Artwork’s escape from oppression on display
Sloane Gallery’s contemporary Russian art
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 03:02
Sloane Gallery has called Denver home for over 30 years. Located in LoDo, this small gallery exhibits work from Russian and other former Soviet Union artists, dating back to the socialist country.
These artists, oppressed by their government, often embarked on the dangerous venture to the United States for an opportunity to display their art at the Sloane Gallery. The owner, Russian-born Mina Litinsky, would make their art seen and their voices heard by people outside of their homeland.
Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the gallery stays true to its history of exhibiting talented Russian art and artists. Some are now collected by the best museums in the country and the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris
Independent of such appraisals and fame, principal Russian nonconformists still like to exhibit their works in Sloane. Litinsky is a friend to artists of all magnitudes and movements.
The exceptional quality of artworks exhibited at Sloane over the years, Sloane gained it a fame of its own as one of the best Russian art collections in the U.S. with art ranging from prints to paintings and sculptures, the gallery showcases several styles, movements, and ideas.
Sometimes whimsical, these artworks carry deep meanings and ideas. Some tell life stories of artists that were silenced. After all, a majority of the work is about the Soviet past, so at least a brief awareness of that era and way of life is necessary. The art can be cruel, and sometimes comic, but always manages to find its place in contemporary Russian art.
Selected artists currently on view include Ernst Neizvestny, Leonid Sokov, and Viatcheslav Kalinin—artists whose work is displayed in prime museums and galleries around the world. Neizvestny’s sculptures can be found all across the former Soviet Union and beyond. His art is monumental, profound, and weighty. Besides being enormous in size, they look archaic. The constant themes of these works are always serious and timeless.
Sokov’s work, on the other hand, is satirical and inspired by pop art and culture. It contrasts traditional Russian culture, and its recognizable characters, with American pop culture symbols. Matreshkas, the traditional Russian dolls, and Mickey Mouse became just a few of many Sokov’s characters. His work, although humorous, questions ideologies and their impact on society.
Viatcheslav Kalinin is a famed Russian painter, whose collage-looking paintings are surreal and conceptual. His work is unmistakable, and beckons viewers to examine it for a while and closely. This is the only this way his paintings, which are full of symbolism, can be understood and their meaning can be discovered.
Sloane Gallery is the best place to see world famous artists from the former Soviet Union, and therefore a diverse range of style that many may not be familiar with. With exhibitions that change often, you are bound to see something new with each visit.