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Oleg Prokofiev New York 1978
Oleg Prokofiev Up until this point, Prokofiev had mainly been working in pale tones; after New York the colour burst back in with a vengeance. The analogous palettes of grey and brown were replaced with light streaming in vertical colours, poured over the glassy lines of tall manmade buildings. Experiencing the aggressive verticalism of looming towers and sharp skyscrapers fascinated the artist who had never seen anything like it before. He also encountered an exciting new art scene full of fuzzy colours and puffed up black lines: Motherwell who believed that art should give an aesthetic experience, to be a true expression of the self; Rothko’s hazy rectangles and luminous backgrounds; the sublime art of Still and his dramatic innovations. Electrified by Abstract Expressionism he abruptly departed from the pale harmonies gleaned from Falk, dizzied by his recollections of the big city lights and the busy hustling crowds. On returning to Europe he immediately began to improvise the Manhattan skyline. His abstract ‘stripe’ series could be made of ironed out twists of coloured glass from the insides of marbles in shades of deep red, pale blue, olive green and shell pinks. Bright corals and ultramarines flicker behind watercolour glazes, like silk worms busily spinning out a Paul Smith scarf. The stripe paintings served to sort the new intensities in his mind, preparing the way for sliding off the canvas into surprisingly three-dimensional works.
NY (C6) Oil on canvas, 92 x 65 cm 1978
NY (C17) Oil on canvas , 101 x 82 cm 1978
NY (C19) Oil on canvas, 102 x 77 cm 1978
Untitled (NYS1) Oil on fabric, 130 x 98 cm 1978
Untitled (NYS2) Oil on fabric, 130 x 98 cm 1978
Untitled (NYS3) Oil on fabric, 130 x 98 cm 1978
Hay Hill Gallery, 35 Baker Street, London W1U 8EN www.hayhillgallery.com
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