Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Olena Skytsiuk: Petrykivka Art


 Since March is Irish American (Art) History Month, my original plan was to feature Irish artists every Thursday. As Robert Burns so well said, "The best plans o' mice an' men/Gang aft a-gley." Of course, I had to look up in the original language to quote, but I'm think you're familiar with how plans often go sideways. 



It became difficult to continue my March plan once I began to experience more posts about the artists of Ukraine and the history of their art. I thought I'd start with a contemporary artist who is keeping alive the old methods of painting. Her name is Olena Skytsiuk (1950-)\


Skytsiuk studied art at the Lviv National Academy of Arts. She blended that formal education with the Petrykivka regional art that she learned from her mother - a distinguished Petrykivka artists in her own right, whose paintings on ceramics, boxes and wood.




Petrykivka art was a folk art that passed through the generations as a decorative craft without consideration to its exceptional style and motifs. In fact, it was becoming a lost art until a revival in the 1930s by a teacher who brought together the few remaining artisans of this technique and created a school. 





One of the most important and unique methods for creating Petrykivka paintings are the use of brushes made with cat hair! This makes for art using a very delicate brush strokes.

 There's also the 2-dimensonal feature of the paintings as well as the folk symbolism. Some examples are:, Rooster:fire/spiritual awakening; Birds: happiness/harmony; Flowers: tree of life and Firebird: blessing/harbinger of doom.


Here's a small sampling of Skytsiuk's many renditions of classic and modern Petrykivka:

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