Comforting Melody, 2008
oil on canvas, 24" × 36"
Nude and Mandolin, 2005
oil on canvas, 30" × 36"
Alexandr Kachkin Artist Biography
Alexandr Kachkin was born and raised in Kiev. When he was young Alexandr was often read to by his father, who encouraged him to become a highly literate individual. A love of storytelling would later inspire Kachkin's character-drawn paintings. Kachkin paid tribute to his father, who died when Alexandr was a child, in a painting that epitomizes his father's bravery during the Second World War.
At the age of sixteen Kachkin began studying at the prestigious Institute of Fine Arts in Kiev and absorbed the lessons of the painterly style and the work of such artists as Goya, Daumier, Rembrandt and Velasquez. Upon graduation, however, Kachkin found the political climate of his homeland inhospitable to creativity. For years he painted commissioned portraits to earn a living while creating original works in secrecy, dreaming of displaying them in a professional gallery.
During Gorbachev's Perestroika Kachkin was given the chance to display his work in an exhibition entitled Little Old Men of Podol. The public responded enthusiastically and many of Kachkin's paintings were acquired by well-known private collectors. Kachkin later gained solo exhibitions in Moscow, Kiev and St. Petersburg. He won special prizes at the opening of Moscow's Central House of Painters Exhibition, at Art-Frankfurt 96 in Germany, and at the Art-Nitza'96 in France. He has also received praise at showings in Chicago and New York. In 1997 the artist immigrated to Toronto and established a small studio. Shortly afterwards he held his first Canadian solo exhibition at Gallery Gevik in Toronto. Art lovers, collectors and dealers were amazed by the originality and depth of Kachkin's vision and he has since been exhibiting successfully in both Toronto and Montreal.
Kachkin continues to give life to his alternatively humorous and tragic characters, which are mostly derived from imagination although Alexandr has said that he has seen all of them [at one time or another] in Pudol. Kachkin's world is one of whimsical subjects including street musicians, puppeteers, imaginative children, and aging friends. While his subjects display a wide range of emotions they are united by the artist's extraordinary empathy, conveyed in the loving, detailed brush work.
Kachkin's works tell a storyworks tell a story, often an anecdote intricately painted, but his messages, while benign, are mysterious. In Dreaming of an Old Friend, for instance, a young person's life takes a fantastic turn as comforting elements his cat and a seemingly weightless gold fish - become imaginative wonders. In Learning a Trade, a young girl concentrates on her violin playing as her older, wiser mentor encourages her with soft, warm glances of approval. Kachkin's paintings appear at first glance to be still moments in time but the viewer is gradually invited to infer the backgrounds of the characters and create biographies.
Kachkin is not interested in a realistic portrayal of his homeland - he captures what many people feel and desire, which is a profound truth. He is an artist whose transparent interest in appearances and the figure relates him to some of the current young figurative artists but his charm and dignity speak to the public in an all-inclusive vein.
Gallery Gevik Exhibitions
- 2009: Solo, Gallery Gevik, Toronto
- 2002: Solo, Gallery Gevik, Toronto
- 2000: Solo, Gallery Gevik, Toronto
- 1998: Solo, Gallery Gevik, Toronto
- 1998: Gallery Gevik, Toronto
- 1997: Gallery Gevik, Toronto
- 1997: Solo, Gallery Gevik, Toronto