By the exhibition “An Icon”, the gallery “ICONART” represented creative works of Lviv icon-painter Lyuba Yatskiv, who combines her creativity with the pedagogical work at the Department of Sacred Art of Lviv National Academy of Arts. The artist’s expressive individual style began to develop when she had been studying at the Artistic Textile Department at I.Trush College of Decorative and Applied Art. It had been finally formed at the Department of Sacral Art of Lviv National Academy of Arts. There Lyuba Yatskiv completed her studies and has been working as a Lecturer since 2002.
Icon-painting of Lyuba Yatskiv looks very balanced – forms and colours are balanced, thoughtfully matched. However, despite this harmony, one could feel incomprehensible dynamics in her works, which makes images very mobile, does not allow them stiffening in majestic monumental postures. Explanation of this internal movement in Lyuba’s icons is likely to be found in her creative method. As the author confesses: “I would never start working with a prepared, predefined concept. It is a line of the drawing that is prompting the development of a certain image; one only needs to listen to it, feel its vivid motion, and subtle plastic nuances”. Such intuitional search of form often dictates the subsequent development of a creative work, this way the author succeeds in avoiding excessive pomposity or decorativeness.
This icon-painting is difficult to be identified as the direct interpretations of Byzantine or Old-Ruthenian sacred art. Rather, Lyuba Yatskiv’s creativity is related to the Boychukist’s art and the art of the Galician neo-Byzantinists of the 1920-1930s. Stylistically these works are consonant with the works of Yaroslav Muzyka and Petro Kholodny. Among modern icon-painters, the most related are the works of Khrystyna Maksymovych (1977 – 2008), whom Lyuba was linked with by the years of studying together and friendship.
The Byzantine iconography, which Boychukists were trying to interpret in a new way, gets a new turn in the works of Lyuba Yatskiv. She neither breaks traditional compositions nor artificially dramatizes the separate scenes. At the same time her iconography remains distinctly individual – she quietly, self-weightedly and confidently reinterprets the established images of canonical iconography. Therefore usual images receive a new unexpected sounding in Lyuba’s works. This personal approach of the author makes the viewer learn how to perceive the established visual signs in a new way.
Now Lyuba Yatskiv is experiencing a difficult period in her personal and creative life – six months ago her husband – artist and icon-painter Volodymyr Yatskiv tragically died. The author dedicates this first personal exhibition to his memory, as it was Volodymyr who had actively supported Lyuba’s decision to present her works in the format of such exhibition.
Notably, the exhibition is not accidentally launched exactly on Palm Sunday, before the Holy Week. The theme of the Passion and Resurrection permeates the whole exhibition space, where the Crucifix of Christ is a central image. The Holy Week gives us the opportunity to outlive the way of death and resurrection again. Icons of Lyuba Yatskiv can be an appropriate guide in these experiences.