It does not happen very often when in the subtly deceptive, so called ”postmodernist,” art games one can achieve his own unaffected and individual world view. A few years ago in The Central Exhibition Hall I saw several paintings with a tense tranquility that seemed to emanate from them.
In the viscous substance of the foggy and shimmering painting there were unsteady but quite distinct patches and objects, in which one could trace the outlines of real images. But these images had been shone through a subtly poetic and quite pictorial lens.
Kristina Shkurinskaya’s paintings are recognizable, not by their distinct and intentionally affecting approach, but by the sharpness and precision of the experience. This experience is expressed in the subtle distinction of plastic and colour combinations that make a painter an artist.
Kristina is true to herself, but she is not prone to repetition in her work. She remains faithful to the roots of her art, although it keeps changing. Her art ”does not tolerate vanity” and I hope it is condemned to success.
Professor, Doctor of Art History,
Academic of the Academy of Humanities,
Member of the International Association of Art
Chief researcher for the Russian State Museum
/personal exhibition leaflet, 1997/
Although, at present time Petersburg does not appear to be the centre of artistic life in Russia, it is certainly a city rich in aesthetic events. Even a person with encyclopaedic understanding of art can not take in all the multitude of directions, styles and artists. But, nevertheless, the theme of Kristina Shkurinskaya’s painting has penetrated the artistic fabric of Saint-Petersburg’s aesthetic trends. Her painting speaks softly but clearly and convincingly. I am trying to work out this painting phenomenon .This painting lacks the significant emptiness of symbols popular in art today. There is no fury in the painting’s expression, which can attract a viewer with its dynamism. But Kristina’s painting undoubtedly has something that can be called ”content”. This is a premonition of some other reality which is more suited to the substance of the human soul. Paint and canvas are used fully and very attentively, without putting on a popular show or trying to be clever in an infantile way. In her painting Kristina does not try to make the surface of the canvas look as if it was something else, like an old icon, for example, or an old wall or stone-in other words something ”old” and ”eternal”. There is nothing like that in Kristina Shkurinskaya’s painting. But there is the light, seemingly half-touched surface of the white canvas.
I wrote ”the surface of the white canvas” and in that moment seemed to define the essence of Kristina’s painting. It suddenly became clear to me that the white canvas in her paintings is not a merely representation of light, but actually the light of Mount Tabor itself. Kristina understands, with a certain sadness, that she can only convey the absolute purity of the canvas by painting and ”staining” it.
But despite the artist’s fascination with the divine world, she uses material paints and puts them onto the physical surface of the canvas. And it is wonderful to see how the artist takes a little paint trying to find the right colour to match the tone of the canvas itself. The artist takes delight in observing how the paints assert their presence and at the same time the white canvas demonstrates its wonderful possibilities. The canvas shines through in places or all over the painting. When there is too much paint the artist removes it until the canvas becomes almost luminous, sometimes becoming the image of the sun. If the artist dares to add a thick layer of colour, she immediately removes it as if clearing the way for the luminous essence of the white canvas. I understand Kristina Shkurinskaya’s painting as an endless dialogue between the fascinating paint and the divine light of the white canvas. Nuances of this dialogue are diverse and captivating. Although this is a serious conversation about important issues. The objects depicted on the canvas are majestically simple like the original objects. They are sky and earth, vertical trees, and initial architectural forms. Verticals and horizontals feature prominently in Kristina’s compositions. Thanks to the sensitive painting surface these almost schematic images evoke feelings similar to those one can experience from the ‘painting of expression’. But this is not the main point.
The main thing is the feeling, evoked by Kristina Shkurinskaya’s paintings, which is familiar to every conscious person and to all artists. It consists of the seemingly unfounded confidence in the idea that the beauty of this world has its own complicated but essential links to the divine world, which is much more beautiful.
/Catalogue:”Kristina Shkurinskaya. Painting”,
Kristina Shkurinskaya’s painting has a depth of it’s own. The main subject of her painting is painting itself. A true understanding of the picture as a material object does not come easily to the viewer or the artist herself, both of whom usually strive to turn the picture into a clear, easy-recognizable image. Colour takes president here. The subject does not obey the form but seems to give birth to it. The distance between the picture and its subject is so reduced that there can be no mention of her painting being lifelike illustrations. But however her canvases possess a special truth - the truth of autonomic objects, which are similar to minimalistic sculptures or even photographs. This unexpected similarity clarifies the hidden intrigue of Kristina Shkurinskaya’s art; the traditional language of postimpressionist painting has found a new voice in this artist as a medium.
//“Empire of Art” ?12/1, International Art Magazine, 2002/
...The artist’s eye is focused on slow, almost motionless, indefinable changes. The function of this twilight vision might paradoxically be aimed at finding something imperceptible in the brightness of daylight. Kristina Shkurinskaya’s use of colour, free from contour, overcomes the limits of objects and provides us with a twilight vision as if seeing in the darkness of night or heavy fog on the see. This vision gradually reveals nuances of black and dark-blue, white and light-grey - everything rests on making out these nuances-sometimes even life itself. The invisible takes on outlines,- the form crystallizes. This almost inborn feature of the painting process, this painting ”par excellence”, is obviously presents in Shkurinskaya’s work. The picture made from canvas and layers of colour belongs to the material world and does not really live; or at least does not live in a demonstrative way or break out of the limits of the frame as in the case of ”action painting”. But it would not be an exaggeration to say that it lives the life an object; behind the impenetrable, or at least half-transparent surface there is something condensing and revealing itself or disintegrating and fading away.
/“VALENCIA” Art Centre, 2003/
Kristina Shkurinskaya’s paintings are for those who like dreaming, who take delight in looking for different images on decaying walls, who stare into puddles trying to find reflections of houses and trees or who can sit for hours watching passing clouds.
A meditative person who appreciates silence and tranquility will certainly enjoy the minimalistic landscapes of this refined artist. The absence of well-defined lines and spatial forms in her landscapes actually relieves the viewer’s visual tension. The golden and pearly-grey shades and the delicate surface of the canvas seem to preserve the trembling brushstrokes and radiate warmth, tenderness and harmony .The thin strip of light, faintly exposed outlines of trees or forest fading into the mist somewhere behind the lake’s smooth surface awakens the imagination. Kristina’s mesmerizing moist morning and evening mists return viewers to their own nostalgic memories. The aloofness and almost mystery of her painting gives birth to a feeling of the lightness of being.
Art Critic, Art Manager of “Arka” Gallery
/“The St.Petersburg News” ?7(484), 2007/
…The mists in Kristina’s canvases are vacillating and poetically moistened. The hand and brush seem to be incapable of creating magic of this kind. We are not destined to understand or see how the canvas, paints and soul interact. Silvery, grey, grey-blue, rosy, yellow, and pale-apricot tones of Kristina’s paintings have absorbed ”something” that has happened in the artist’s soul; delight, sadness, joy, love, parting…To empathise with the artist’s feelings one must enter the picture. It looks as if the artist is inviting you in, saying ”This is my soul experience. Perhaps it is close to your own …
/«Áîëüøàÿ ïåðåìåíêà» ¹7(202) 2007,
Independent Newspaper on Culture/