Vadim Puyandaev creates paintings that are classically rooted, stylistically modern and vibrant with color and positive spirit. He combines abstract and representational styles and invigorates his canvases by inserting elements of motion into the picture. Ballerinas, boats and butterflies are among the subjects he revisits in an exhibition of recent and earlier work.
“Suggestions of Life in the Dappled,” on view at the Hermitage Art Center in The City, contains about two dozen oil-on-canvas works by the painter, sculptor and collaborative-performance artist who has lived in Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia, Israel, and, currently, the Bay Area.
Puyandaev paints still-life, landscape and figurative works. Operating within such genres means that the format is already set. He can put all his focus into creating expressive non-narrative canvases that, via composition, energy, and, especially, color, evoke emotional responses in the viewer.
His influences include Russian modernists Kandinsky and Malevich and his collaborations with his longtime creative and life partner, choreographer Erika Tsimbrovsky.
Movement, supplied by dancers, butterflies and other life forces, is a significant component of his art. Techniques such as contrasting stillness with motion, and solid objects with flat backgrounds, and painting in different shades of each chosen hue, result in qualities of dynamism and beauty in what Puyandaev calls the “dappled world of the painting.”
“Round Dance,” a figurative work, features dancers whose faces are detailed while their bodies, abstractly painted in golden tones, nearly merge with the background. The picture suggests the transitory yet vital and substantial nature of our existence. Orange poppies enhance the sunny tone.
Puyandaev applies his style and palette to another genre in “Blue Still Life.” Here, yellowish grapes occupy center stage amid an atmosphere thick with peaceful blues and alive with the motion of butterflies and the dynamics of light. The background contains abstract-expressionist drips, while scratches made onto surfaces — a trademark technique of the artist — create a textured, layered look.
Art history resonates in “Still Life With Yellow Butterfly,” which contains a classical assortment and arrangement of objects — a wineglass, a bottle, a bowl of fruit, a vase of flowers. The butterfly provides compositional balance and suggests life and lightness.
Landscape paintings feature boats, a subject inspired by the bodies of water Puyandaev has lived near. Form and color — nocturnal blues are particularly strong — convey mood.
The exhibit also has a sculpture, a white abstract rendering of dancers.
Puyandaev’s work has been exhibited in Russia, Israel, Japan, France, and the U.S. With Tsimbrovsky, the artist is a founding member of EVM Laboratories (Israel) and Avy K Productions (United States), cooperatives that explore the possibilities of performance when different genres intersect.
IF YOU GO
Vadim Puyandaev: Suggestions of Life in the Dappled
Where: Hermitage Art Center, 1419 Stockton St., S.F.
When: Noon to 10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; closes Aug. 30
Contact: (415) 572-3932, www.hermitageartcenter.com