Main menu

Reviews of artworks
Skvortsova Anna
art historian, Director of Municipal Budgetary Institution of Culture "Aleysk Historian and Regional Studies Museum"

"Leave painters alone; do not touch their feelings or their thoughts. Do not touch the flower and the tree, do not bend them in any direction, and they will always turn to the sun. So, life comes to them." V. V. Stasov

At any exhibition of contemporary art, you can see, that majority of painters are inspired by modern and postmodern genres. Therefore, the artworks of Natalia Shalagina are like a "breath of fresh air" in this world of avant-garde. This is what we all need, especially in the province, where the view is not sophisticated.

When you look for the first time at the pictures of Natalia Shalagina, you are surprised by variety of genre and technique. Pastose painting with wide bold strokes in the landscape "Winter evening" (2009) with bright contrasting spots of yellow and blue, without local color, each stroke is a whole palette of different shades of a color. Or if you pay attention to the picture "Night" (2000), you will see a completely different painting, technology. Very interesting composition pierced with symbolism, and each viewer can imagine his own story, looking at this picture. You can think that a dog here is a symbol of faithfulness and loyalty and only two candles accompany it. Just two two people, their souls are like lights burning without any remainder, viewed in the sad eyes of the dog, she understands everything, but can't do anything... just watching the wax melt. But one candle is still higher than the other…

One more picture that you could not have just pass by "C'est La Vie" (2015). The picture is made of big size that intensifies the artwork’s perception. The painting is monochrome and shades of cold color cause some inner anxiety.

The portrait genre attracts by its sincerity and the simplicity of the chosen models. Inspired by the artworks of impressionists, Natalia made such portraits as "Mother "(2010),"Grandmother" (2010). These pictures are full of sun and air, iridescent flicker of colors and shimmer of light. One of early portrait "Grandfather" (2007), "sculpted" gently and carefully with soft warm in coloring strokes as by small children's hands. The cat significantly placed at the overworked hands of grandfather in the foreground gives comfort to this composition. But the eyes of old is the semantic centre of the whole picture. They attract, there is all the life, same deep and dark. Difficult, during the war childhood... And how he wished carefree, fun, for a boy one on the bike!...

"Star medal of grand grandfather" (2015) is one of the last artworks made by Natalia for the Victory day celebration. The painter drew her children Vadim and Ekaterina. Here you can see the developed style of the painter for portraits. Impressionism’s touch is an integral part of the paintings. Much light and air. Bold, rapid brushwork, but in contrast to the previous pictures, arms are drawn in more details, maybe it carry out some meaning: because these arms and star are the conceptual and compositional center of the picture. Children's arms will keep the memory of the grandfather in the future.

One more one of the last pictures "Spring" (2005), has a more detailed drawing. You can see this in the drawing of two bikes in the foreground, trees branches. Although all other are done by broad strokes: the flowers on the apple tree are drawn so voluminous and velvety that they break out the general context of the picture, it seems that they are swaying from the light spring breeze and it seems you can feel the delicate aroma of the flowers. The whole semantic and compositional meaning is shifted slightly to the right and focuses on two bikes. These are male and female bikes, as presented by a frame on the male one and woman’s hat on the trunk of female’s one. And, it seems like you can hear their voices somewhere nearby, young, cheerful, inspired by spring…

A talent is something that God has given to you, something that cannot be taught, no matter what teachers you had. Natalia's paintings are talented. Her talent is not wasted for emptiness, she realizes it: sometime timidly, another time quickly and safely. Therefore, we are still waiting for a lot of bright, light, gentle full of meaning artworks.

"I saw something; it sunk into the soul, and with the help of brush it appeared on canvas. It’s painting. And the same is love..."S. Dali