Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2009 • 5
Bill Conly, Photo
VLADIMIR GORSKY Bringing Down the Sky By JAMIE ELLIN FORBES
n the Spring of 2006, I was in Texas, visiting Vladimir and Jeanette Gorsky. Vladimir, still in good health, was a dynamic force of talent to be reckoned with in the arts. As we all drove together, I began to see and comprehend the depth of his ability as a colorist. No one I knew had the capacity to use the simple or complex palette of hue as he did. The Dallas refraction of rainbow colors in the sky was apparent to me on our ride. I understood that his response to stimuli — whether automatic or intended — made no difference. Vladimir brought the sky down into his images as works were framed in a perfected artistic statement. As a pop artist, Gorsky brought a fresh and unique understanding to a welldeveloped school through his genius for color and portraiture, making it his own medium for experimentation. Movie and music stars, celebrities, politicians and every day people were placed in the aura as he must have seen them in with emphasis upon their character apparent to him as the artist. I watched him paint with a concentration few possess. Vladimir stopped, started, took a break, all the while observing how his composition played through the colors he stroked into the composition. I confidently showed the work to Constance Schwartz, Director and Chief Curator of the Nassau County Museum of Art, a major museum a half hour from Manhattan. She told me that Vladimir was
Vladimir and Jeanette Gorsky, Jamie Ellin Forbes, Victor Forbes at Russian Samovar, NYC
a true one-of-a-kind and thanked me for the introduction and contributed an essay to this magazine. Connie was taken with the classical nudes and the expertise coupled with the creativity they displayed. To her, Vladimir was a true Renaissance artist. When Vladimir was very ill, I was working with Jeanette and googled his name while researching a project. I had rarely seen so many listings for a contemporary working artist. I tried again, thinking I was mistaken, but the results were the same. I called Jeanette to let her know how well-recognized Vladimir had become. This was and was not news, Jeanette said. “Vladimir has imitators all over the globe.” I stopped and thought, “Now that’s a real sign of validation.” Recently Vladimir’s 1999 Tapestry of the Centuries, (a world-famous painting measuring 9’ x 18’ which took 3 years to paint and comprises 350 people and events that shaped the history of the world) has been published in John Duffield’s book Relativity + The Theory of Everything. In searching for an appropriate image to convey his new theory of physics, the author loved the piece and how it related
to his book’s theme. It was becoming clear to me that Vladimir’s work had the ability to cross all lines. Writers, curators, casual art buyers, sports stars, and collectors even the first President Bush and his wife, Barbara, loved Vladimir’s fluency in varying styles across the board. Vladimir had multiple circles of those calling him friend. Nationally known poker buddies, musicians, philanthropists…his charitable work was ceaseless and organizations could always count on a Gorsky image to raise good money for their cause. Vladimir Gorsky was a true Renaissance man, brilliant painter and our good friend. His memory will be honored though the Vladimir Gorsky Foundation, the purpose of which is to further the appreciation of art and the humanities, recognize the importance of education, and provide assistance to individuals and organizations dealing with chronic or terminal illness, implementing these goals in the local, national and international domains by supporting the creation and dissemination of art, fostering education in art, art history, and the humanities, developing and sustaining art exhibits, funding scholarships and contributing to worthy charities, motivated and inspired by The Tapestry of the Centuries and other works by Vladimir Gorsky. Recently, while Jeanette and I were reviewing a project for the foundation (an educational and institutional tour of Tapestry of the Centuries), I told her that I was thinking of how Vladimir would see this project. I remember what a far-reaching way he had of seeing things. “I can imagine how much you miss him, but that’s a mind all will miss on this planet.” http://www.gorskyfineart.com
In Gorsky’s art, there is an exploration of humanistic understanding, a wide
angle of possibilities .... His work offers a visual essay reflecting innovation in the tradition of figurative motifs as well as demonstrating a remarkable diversity of style that transcends time. With vision and talented eye and hand, the artist remakes seemingly prosaic reality, an intense personal vision of the figure and portrait with exciting effect to suit his mechanisms of illusion and gives us a moment of contemplation. ... Vladimir Gorsky is an unusual talent. Classically trained in techniques defined by the old masters, his art covers themes derived from the Renaissance to the Classics and portraiture brought up to date in an aspect of Pop art that has been influenced by Andy Warhol. In the tradition of that American Pop artist, Gorsky gives his celebrity subjects their fifteen minutes of fame in an enduring expression of paint. It was the poet Baudelaire’s sense of the work of art existing independently of its ostensible subject and attaining its own kind of truth through the mysterious that is at the heart of Gorsky’s painting. In Bathing Nymphs, after Bouguereau’s The Nymphaeum, Gorsky adapted the subject matter for his own composition by changing day to night for moonlight bathing and by drawing the girls more slender. —CONSTANCE SCHWARTZ Director & Chief Curator, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY Vladimir Gorsky, Bathing Nymphs 6 • Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2009
Mary Lee Houghton, president of Legacy Brain Founation, Vladimir Gorsky and Dr. Virginia Stark-Vance, MD Oncologist.
Tal Milan, Director of Milan Gallery Ft. Worth and Jeanette Korab-Gorsky in front of Tapestry of the Centuries now showing at the main library of Ft. Worth in downtown Ft. Worth. Vladimir Gorsky and Ron Logan of Logan Fine Arts Houston, TX at the last show of Vladimir’s in July, 2008.
Texas Hold ’em tournament from l-r (back row): TJ Cloutier, Warren Karp, Kenna James, Young Phan; front: JKG, Mario Orosco & Jacqueline Orosco
Benita Buchanan,telecommunications manager at Atmos Energy and Coke Buchanan, Director of Outreach, of the Memnosyne Foundation and Secretary Treasurer of the Vladimir Gorsky Foundation.
September 27th, 2008 was the beginning of a great tradition, Vlad’s Day, created in honor of Vladimir Gorsky. He was a friendly genius with a great sense of humor and one of the great talents of the modern and post-modern eras. His life was tragically cut short after being diagnosed with brain cancer. He ran his course and kept the faith through that most difficult of ordeals and now it is up to his many friends, colleagues and admirers to carry on and keep his name and his work before the public. Jeanette Korab-Gorsky, and Mary Ann Vlad’s Day is a way of honoring Vladimir through the things he loved most, painting, Thompson-Frenk, President and co-founder of family and poker. Events have been created that will take place annually with the help of friends the Memnosyne Foundation such as Tal Milan of Milan Art Galleries, Choctaw Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma and numerous poker celebrity friends. Poker celebs such as TJ Cloutier, Amir Vahiti, Young Phan, Kenna James and Tom McEvoy all took part in the first annual event which consisted of an art auction, dinner and a Texas Hold ’Em tournament. With help from Choctaw Casino, the Vlad’s Day poker tournament ran like any World Series event. Along with these great friends, others are lining up to be involved in future Vlad’s Day events. The legendary Binion’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, is in the planning stages to run the next Vlad’s Day charity poker event during the WSOP. All profits from the Vlad’s Day events will benefit brain cancer research For information, to make a donation and or to see a listing of our current and coming activities for the Vladimir Gorsky Foundation please visit/contact: www.vladimirgorskyfoundation.org; phone - 1 800 741 0401; e-mail: jeanette@ Dallas, Texas celebrated the talent of its great late artist Vladimir Gorsky in Dec. 2008. The event supported the arts while helping to fight brain cancer. vladimirgorskyfoundation.org Fine Art Magazine • Spring 2009 • 7
Vladimir Gorsky, 1953-2008, Bringing Down the Sky