Mykola Zhuravel breaks the boundaries between painting and sculpture, performance and installation art. Zhuravel turns to nature to create thriving monuments to man’s links to the Earth itself. He searches for compatibility between Earth and mankind, while pointedly making reference to the obstacles that human beings have placed in the way of a harmonious existence. Zhuravel’s ambitious style results in a remarkable series of living images of a visionary utopia, ranging from his beehive sculptures to his thought provoking installations of glass jars that become virtually transcendental. Born into a family of beekeepers, Zhuravel incorporates elements and products of beekeeping with traditional media into his work. Zhuravel uses honey, beeswax, and the actual beehive itself, along with other unusual media, such as tea and wine to create his unique works of art. The exquisite conceptual works present an arresting and deeply affecting array of images based on the age-old practice of nurturing honeybees. Equally striking are Zhuravel’s paintings. By using levkas, a traditional primer employed by icon painters, Zhuravel unites the legacies of Byzantine and Rus icon painting with his contemporary painterly technique. The result, richly vibrant and inventive contemporary works that emerge as modern-day icons.
Zhuravel was born in 1960 in Ukraine and graduated from the prestigious Kyiv State Arts Institute (now the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture of Ukraine) in 1989. He has exhibited widely in Ukraine, Russia, Switzerland, Japan, and the United States. An active participant in the events of Ukraine’s democratic Orange Revolution of 2004, he currently resides in Kyiv, Ukraine. His works are held in prominent private and museum collections in Ukraine and the United States.
Mykola Zhuravel’s challenging work exists simultaneously on several levels, all extraordinary for their range of expression and unusual originality. His remarkably varied modes include sculptural interpretations of working beehives, richly textured sentinels with clearly atavistic fins and crests, and there are also contrary, mixed-media expressions that subtly relate to his archetypal, yet also sophisticated modern forms. These varied expressions have an engaging, immediate appeal, with their pierced, patched and otherwise lush, organic surfaces treatments and varied contours. Raised grids articulate the complex structure of “Solar Battery No. 2,” with its rusty, honeyed tones, and the warm colors and and the gentle rhythms of “Bee Paradise which engage the observer’s eye as surely as pink and orange petals actually attract bees.
…Beneath the enigmatic, stirring primal forms and patterns of his two- and three-dimensional forms, however, the distinguished, experimental Ukrainian master engages a deeply felt set of principles and meanings. His work is clearly functional and linked to a moving, age-old culture of raising bees! He has discerned in this daring expressive metaphor his need and desire to acknowledge significant links between man and nature. On another expressive level, his striking imagery of fire and destruction alludes to his imbedded resistance to repression in the former Soviet Union. It was only with the decline of Stalin’s reign that Zhuravel finally felt free to express himself confidently, without political or artistic inhibition. In his brilliantly cohesive, original and daring visual statements Zhuravel has ranged from conceptual art to major, modernist sculpture forms, and his fresh and original expression presents a cohesive, wonderfully provocative world view. At the same time, he continues to expand his remarkable range of expression, as he both challenges and engages the concerned viewer’s eye and intellect in a daring and wholly original manner.
Dr. Sam Hunter, Emeritus Professor of Art History, Princeton University
Levkas of Mykola Zhuravel
Mykola Zhuravel is one of the most original artists of Ukrainian today. Each of his exhibition becomes an event in Kiev (Kyiv and not only) the artistic life.
Creativity of Mykola Zhuravel – always search and experiment. That’s why it appeals to different kinds of arts.
“Levkas” called chalky soil of medieval iconography. From it postponed a modern sophisticated technique of writing, which combines the quality not only of paintings (by the way, of course levkas differ quite ascetic, muted color palette, paint for them is often tempera), but also sculpture.
Levkas – an opportunity to work simultaneously on multiple surfaces, directly painting and scratching to the lower layers of paint, soil.
Mykola Zhuravel fascinated levkas during the study. It attracted precisely this element of “painting – handiwork ” in general is typical for the whole artists creativity. But at the same time levkas despite all his ” workmanship ” (or thanks to it) – an extremely sophisticated technology.He probably does not yield enamel – though its beauty devoid of colorful vividnessbut rather restrained and austere.However, laconic of levkas allows him to be concentrated – and deeper.
Levkass of Mykola Zhuravel naturally fit into the overall creative system of its creator.The artist proceeds from the main “difficulty” of levkas – it monochrome – and it builds his works.Images that appear on the surface (and below surface) of his works belong to infinity …
Origin can be of the same degree of probability output of primitive art – with children’s drawings on the wall scratched entrances. Along with creation in levkas Mykolas Zhuravel is a game more – along with “high and important,” there it is ironic transformation, reflection.
Mykola Zhuravel was born in 1960 in Magnitohorsk, Russia.
1979- Crimean art school im.Samokisha, Simferopol, Ukraine
1989 – graduated from the prestigious Kyiv State Arts Academy, Kyiv, Ukraine
1995 – Member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine
1996 – The artist is a member of the National Artists’ Union of Ukraine and the BG-ART
2009 – Academician of the Academy of Rome-modernist art
2011 – The nominee on the Shevchenkovska award,
Included in the 30 of the best artists of Ukraine by version of the “100 names” publication
2016 – 1 Prize on the international Kunstpreis ART Worpswede-2016. Berlin, Germany
2019 -First Place, First All-Ukrainian Biennale of Levkas. BCM White World. (Kiev, Ukraine)
2016 – First Place, the Kunstverein ART-Projekt Worpswede. Berlin, Germany
2009 – Academician of the Academy of Rome-modernist Art
1998 – First Place, the Ukrainian Painting Triennale, Kyiv, Ukraine
1996 – Awarded the Zolotyi Peretyn Prize and Artist of the Year title, First International ART Festival, Kyiv, Ukraine
Currently resides and works in Kyiv, Ukraine.