Art Brokerage: Artist Dmitri Strizhov is a Russian-born painter who lives in a world entirely of his own making. It is a mythological world filled with colorful figures in imaginary landscapes, a world that has been turned upside down as shown in the enigmatic faces he loves to paint. Yet there is a certain heroism in his mythical world, a heroism that opens the door to the unconscious in a playful way. One may talk about a considerable breadth of emotions discussed in the pictorial juxtapositions of these paintings. Their craft like precision lends authenticity to the projection of feelings that range from pathos to a Dionysian abandon. Strizhov's exuberant paintings combine figurative and abstract elements through the use of modeling techniques that are juxtaposed with brilliant planes of primary and secondary colors. He is a poet in both visual and literary terms. One is impelled to examine Strizhov's situation from two interrelated points of view: the aesthetic and the political. First, his aesthetics are not calculated so much as given a necessary form of empathy. Put another way, he is not struggling for some aspect of classical form of aesthetics contingent on perfection in the universe of beauty. Rather, he is interested in playfulness, a quality more given to his romantic temperament. Through the process of play he sets up a certain dialectical tension, a force of visual opposites in perpetual tension with each other. This quality of play emerges repeatedly in Strizhov's images as one examines the intricacies in these delightful paintings. One is reminded of the late German critic, Walter Benjamin, who wrote in great seriousness about play, particularly as manifested in children's toys. In his Moscow Diary, Benjamin discusses in aesthetic detail how the colors and shapes of these Russian toys capture not only images of the unconscious but also the power of the creative imagination.
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