Continuing from ABOVE ...
Although billed as a mixed-media series — ''conceptual work'' as Poletaev sees it — some drawings were created exclusively in ballpoint (MM-2017-58, pictured), but he is leaving more hatched line-work visible, thinning the layers of lines as the scenes fade to white at the edges or into the distance. He is still drawing recognizable cities such as Venice, but now the canals his gondoliers navigate are rendered with Impressionistic modesty (MM-2017-21, pictured), and the kinds of cable cars familiar from many of his Cityscapes are now shown trolleying through settings less clearly delineated (MM-2017-54, pictured). It's not the first such instance of ballpoint Impressionism, but Poletaev is just as successful in these less-is-more depictions as he is when he is inking a full page. At A4 letter size, the Miniatures are less than half the size of his Cityscapes, meaning less real estate to cover on the blank page. Furthermore, what the artist is not drawing in the new series is now often just as much a part of the compositions as what he is drawing. The sparse, snowy landscape of MM-2017-58 shows the white of the page making up more of the drawing than any of the mediums employed. The results constitute a kind of Poletaev Light.
The classic quality of the new Miniatures gels with Poletaev's conventional approach to art. Drawings of ballerinas (MM-2017-42, pictured) could just as easily date from the 19th century or earlier. The artist is just as old-school in his let-the-work-speak-for-itself reticence to speak at length about his own art. That's still the case with this new portfolio, so we can't rightly tell you why we're suddenly walking with
camels across sand dunes (MM-2017-70, pictured), watching polo matches
or sailing (MM-2017-49, pictured). Luckily, Poletaev's artwork has always
been self-explanatory. A certain mood may be set by the Impressionistic
touch, but the picture is the picture; camels, horses, boats — Poletaev
doesn't even assign titles. ''The gallery or viewer can attach their own titles,''
he says of the series. Poletaev's choice of subject matter has always been
safe, to be sure — one can easily imagine prints of these works decorating
the walls of fine hotels in the heart of any of the cities Poletaev has
presented — but it is also free of pretense. What you see is what you get.
Left : MM-2017-42. Below : MM-2017-54. Bottom : MM-2017-17. All artwork 2017 ballpoint pen, graphite & water-color on A4 size watercolor paper, 21 x 29.7cm (8.27 x 11.75'').
All artwork © Andrey Poletaev.
PENNAME by R. Bell posted May 13, 2017
TITLE ・DATE ・MEDIUM ・SIZE
ARCHIVEFEATURES more links on the ARCHIVE page
Article text ...
Link to the full article in the Ballpointer ARCHIVES...
Artwork, at right & below-right : MM-2017-49, MM-2017-4, both 2017, ballpoint pen, graphite & watercolor on A4-size watercolor paper, 21 x 29.7cm (8.27 x 11.75'').
Below : Pedestrian Crossing 2016, ballpoint pen on paper, 73 x 55cm (30 x 22'').
All artwork © Andrey Poletaev・For more art, info, contact: www.poletaevart.com
Poletaev Light might not be enough for longtime fans spoiled to his richly detailed Cityscapes, but the artist promises more of those, too. One of his most recent, Pedestrian Crossing (2016, pictured), shows Poletaev continuing to do what he does best: ballpoint precision in every shadow, reflection and architectural detail. Contemporary art enthusiasts with overly intellectualized tastes might require more than what is offered in Poletaev's Miniatures — many of which are now with an American representative in Nashville, Tennessee, awaiting exhibition — and there are already apps which alter photographs in similar ways, but that's where the ballpoint 'wow' factor comes into play, trumping modern hi-definition computer-programmed effects with good ol' hands-on mastery of the pen, even when there's more paper than ink・
PENNAME by R. Bell originally posted May 13, 2017
Mixed & Matched・Town, Country
TITLE ・DATE ・MEDIUM ・SIZE
Poletaev downshifts and gets imaginative again with his
Miniatures, but here he pursues less labor-intensive ways of
presenting his subjects, and time saved by simplification
means he has already created dozens. He has always had a
way with a ballpoint pen, and the soft touch necessary to
achieve the kind of halftone effects which make atmospheric perspective a highlight of his Cityscapes, but here it's the addition of graphite and watercolor washes providing some of that atmosphere and helping to accelerate the artist's creative process. Applied to watercolor paper, the added textures contribute to and convey the mixing of mediums. The artist is also considering replicating subjects from his Miniatures into artwork created minus ballpoint pens altogether, including oil on canvas.
Continues BELOW ...
Click on an image above to read the fully archived article.
Time. The bane of all ballpointers. To photorealist ballpointers, in particular, most of that time is spent working carefully to avoid making mistakes, another nemesis. Andrey Poletaev is the quintessential photorealist ballpointer and faces both whenever he places pen to paper, but late in 2016 he started spending his time spending less time. In the Ukrainian artist's new looser, lighter Miniatures series, mistakes may even be less of a concern.
Since The Ballpointer began covering his work two years ago, Poletaev has been showing us the world via his popular Cityscapes series; masterfully rendered photorealist postcard views in ballpoint. But one cannot draw street scenes forever, and shouldn't. Even the most ardent fans might tire of what starts looking like the same street over and over again. Poletaev, himself, occasionally feels the need for a shift, and hinted to as much in his 2016 explanation of Art Mechanica, an intermediate piece which was an imaginative and refreshing departure from that which followers of his work had become accustomed. Such works, explained Poletaev, allow him to gear-down and unwind from the time-consuming, mentally draining routines of producing the Cityscapes.