Max Vityk (1964)
Max Vityk is an American artist of Ukrainian origin, who was born in Lviv in 1964. He started painting at the end of the 1990s having got a degree in geology and worked as a geologist in Texas.
At first he produced series of paintings that could be described as expressionist for their complex, increasingly colourful style of drawing and their decorative and stylised figurative forms that display heightened emotions. Yet at the same time he created a more sober series in which the only subject is a ladder heading towards the sky, and even a minimalist style of painting dominated by the colour black, for him an expression of warmth.
He soon employed distinctive techniques, such as free-flowing paint that produced pools of colour, or a reflective surface on which there are lines – as though cut in rock - which reinforce the brightness of the colours whilst at the same time representing figures that are not easily perceived (Hallucination Series). Instantly Max Vityk's art becomes the bearer of a message: man, and all that he creates, is the result of nature and will end up dissolving into it.
All his work finds itself stretched towards these two poles that are the foundations of man and nature, culture and geology.
Always displaying great energy due to the intensity of colour and a now simplified line, Max Vityk's painting focuses on giving a new vision of the traditional and mythological substratum of civilisations that he has encountered – such as the Hutsul mountain people living in the Ukrainian Carpathians (Hutsul Series), the Westerners of the Netherlands (Duindigt Series) or the North African people of Egypt (Cairo Dreams). But he also makes a symbol out of the great political upheavals that were the revolutions in Ukraine and Egypt; the symbol of the eternal fight between Good and Evil (The Warriors of Light).
His painting also shows his passion for planet Earth and its geological formation. Certain series of paintings appear to fall within abstraction but in reality evoke an outcrop of multi-strata volcanic rocks, rendered by thick textures that almost make them bas-relief. Thanks to a new technique invented by the artist, they are at the same time permanent and light-weight, they evolve following the natural laws of gravity (Lava Series, Outcrops Series, Magma Series). Their vibrant colours refer to geological times, with white evoking glaciation, blue the oceans, red volcanic activity, yellow the sun's energy as much as the earth's sediment, and the transition from blue to green evoking the emergence of life from the oceans to the land.
Works in the Landscapes and Energy series reflect the dreamlike and spiritual dimension of Mark Vityk's art, suggesting meditation as advocated by eastern philosophy, for man to aspire to live in harmony with nature. Five large, coloured monochromes represent the energy of space in black, transformation in red, water and air in blue, the sun in yellow and the earth in green. On permanent display at the Shell headquarters in The Hague, they are a reminder of the necessity to develop renewable energy sources for the good of the planet and its inhabitants.
'Painting for me is similar to meditation. I often paint with my eyes closed in order to control my subconscious.'
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Art works from Max Vityk
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