new-york

Eric Bulatov, Oleg Vassilyev

Phyllis Kind Gallery

Whatever the sociopolitical import of these paintings as commentary on Russian life, past and present, they are marvels of ironic realism. Oleg Vassilyev employs dissolves and blunt inner frames to isolate and monumentalize photographic details of Russian reality, suggesting the macabre prison Russian society is. Eric Bulatov’s quasi-Impressionist technique and use of glaringly bright colors perversely understates a drab but dangerous social reality. Thus, a menacing image of Lenin on a poster in Farewell, Lenin, 1991, dominates the scene. Indeed, his image has appropriated all its brightness, reducing the lives of the painting’s inhabitants to a relative colorlessness that reflects the joylessness of daily life. Similarly, in Happy New Year, 1990, it is the bright, high-flying banners in the otherwise innocuous scene that signal the horrific power of the Communist dictatorship. For the

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