|Ivan Ivanovich Khokhlov"s exhibition has become for me a revelation of a new artist, a new creative personality. I should confess that earlier I did not know his works. So much the gladder was the unexpected encounter with this serious, thoughtful, talented man.
The works represented in the gallery "Pines" astonish not only by variety, but they strike with the contrast of figurative contents and artistic style: illustrations of the children"s books, religious-symbolic compositions, epic landscapes, surrealistic scenes: Time is required to comprehend such polar images. Personal acquaintance with the artist, talks with him explains a lot. Khokhlov is a typographic artist by his basic profession. Composing fairy-tales and illustrating them is one of the main trends of his creative work. The merry, mischievous, fairy characters, performed by Khokhlov with a good sense of humor, are close to child"s perception. Clear drawings, generalized manner, using of local colours teach children to reproduce the world in symbolic forms and colours.
Khokhlov says that along with book-drawings he was fascinated from the young years by the works of Brueghel and Bosch, he was attracted by the mystic world of these enigmatic artists of Northern Renaissance. However, in seventies, when he was a student, such interests, putting it mildly, were not encouraged. At the exhibition we see the pictures which may be named a paraphrase of Brueghel"s "Seasons". In these compositions are alloyed historic reminiscences, a toy world of childhood (which goes from illustrations) and the contemporary surrealistic tendencies of Salvador Dali. Despite the well-seen sources of these works, the #desert#R#artist managed to achieve the integrity of image. Masterful composition, elaborate technique of tones merging and smooth overflow of spatial plans contribute to this.
The most interesting, individual part of Khokhlov"s creations is the picturesque works, dedicated to biblical topics, religious-mystical subjects. The choice of such themes is not a tribute to a contemporary fashion, but results from deep interest in religious history, in the Orthodox Church and Russian icon painting, which the artist has experienced all his life. "Faces", "Prophets", "Saints" comprise a large series of symbolic portraits. From the canvases look at us severe, sad faces, burdened with tense thoughts. It is noteworthy that in the list of these portraits the artist includes Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, the prophets of our time. Expressive painting, sharp lines, dusk colouring - all this creates the images of great emotional influence. In our time many authors start working on religious themes but often they find themselves the slaves of either canonical portraying or salon stylization. Ivan Khokhlov in his best works escaped these dangers. His "Faces" and "Prophet
s" are full of the authentic inner spirituality. Their ancestors are the saints by Theophanes the Greek and their grandfathers is Apostle by N. Goncharova. They exist at present and foresee the drama of the Future. To portraits corresponds a series of landscapes "Biblical deserts". These are the truly historical landscapes, monumental and majestic. Behind the sequence of dark cliffs is depicted the infinite space flooded by light - so the imagination of artist reproduces "The Holy Land" -- the earliest terrestrial landscape.
One more creation of artist should be noted - "Golgotha". The composition, solved in the complex range of cold tones, grows from the terrestrial scenery to the motion of air masses, of which is formed Supreme Divinity. Crucifixion of Christ is treated by artist as space phenomenon. All thematic cycles of Ivan Khokhlov are characterised by high picturesque craftsmanship and use of fine colour spectrum. The artist uses oil, gouache, acrylic paints, he experiments with the different picturesque and graphic techniques. Rich colorful palette distinguishes all his works. Among them it should be noted a number of half-abstracted compositions -- "Parallel worlds" and "Symphony of the sea", in which artist is captivated by independant motion of colorful masses, by the thin transitions of color, the rhythms of spots. In these compositions mysterious world is materialized in the picturesque harmonies. Ivan Ivanovich Khokhlov stores and develops rare in the contemporary fine arts spiritu
al values in unity with the high picturesque culture.
KRAMARENKO L.G. Bachelor of Arts.