NY Art News Review
Igor Grechanyk: Master Sculptor and Storyteller
Review by Anna Kamensky
Igor Grechanyk is an artist of many talents. From monumental bronze sculptures to striking mixed media pieces, Grechanyk grabs the attention of the viewer and never lets go. His storied career has led him to exhibitions around the world, and a variety of awards and honors from the International Artist Contest Award for Art Revolution Taipei Fair to a nomination for Person of the Year in Art and Culture in his home country, Ukraine. During these challenging times of the global pandemic, he is patiently waiting to show his new sculptures in New York, a place he regularly exhibited in the past.
“The life of the artist is going on a permanent creative search. Something surreal sends its signals and an artist, as the receiver, transforms and retranslates them further.” As written in his artist’s statement, Grechanyk does just this. His curiosity and journey through the mind, body and soul is always changing and evolving in his work. Grechanyk’s work as a whole creates thoughtful conversations and connections with history, artistic traditions, mythology, and the continuous journey in search of self.
Igor Grechanyk draws inspiration from the subconscious as well as mythology and mystery. His curiosity relating to perception and myth has persisted throughout his career, and manifested in his work over time. Igor Grechanyk was born in Kiev, Ukraine into an artistic family; his father is the famous Ukrainian sculptor Viktor Grechanyk. Needless to say, he has always had a strong interest in art. He studied at the Republican Art School and the State Art Institute in Kiev, graduating in 1984. He has participated in a multitude of art fairs and has had solo exhibitions in Ukraine, the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Belgium, France, Austria, the United States, and more. Grechanyk recently exhibited at X-Power Gallery in Taipei, at the Shanghai International Art Fair, and at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York. In February 2021 Grechanyk’s art will be displayed at The Palm Beach Show, an art and luxuries fair in its eighteenth year in Palm Beach, Florida.
Two of Grechanyk’s newest series of sculptures are “Cycle New Dimensions” and “Cycle Labyrinth.” New Dimensions focuses on the spiritual expansion of the mind and soul. Grechanyk’s bronzes are monumental and have a permanence to them, but contrastingly also capture the fleeting moments and feelings of impulses and time. The twisting bodies and abstracted shapes undulate, blurring the lines between something recognizably human and something mythical. The viewer’s perception is an important aspect of the finished piece. In “Icarus,” a 2014-15 bronze, Igor Grechanyk portrays the famed character from Greek mythology. Icarus’ form is abstracted; his left arm is outstretched towards the sky and enveloped by a wing. The sculpture has elements of earthiness in its rough texture and natural forms. Icarus is partially one with the Earth, and partially moving upwards to the next realm or dimension.
Igor Grechanyk’s sculptures in the Labyrinth series reference the complex nature of a maze, relating to the chaos of humanity and the constant search to find the essence of the spirit. By definition, a labyrinth is “a complicated irregular network of passages or paths in which it is difficult to find one’s way.” Each bronze sculpture references a classic entity like the Greek minotaur, the Garden of Eden, or Ariadne, and connects it to the complexity, or “maze” of the human experience and the literal and metaphorical labyrinths we all face. In Grechanyk’s bronze “In the Self-Labyrinth” from 2018, a male figure is intersected through the torso by a labyrinth. Grechanyk plays off the idealized male body seen in ancient Greek and Roman sculpture and makes it more textured and rough, unlike the smooth white marble we are used to. The figure looks down, as though he is examining the labyrinth that physically is ripping him apart. As is seen throughout this series, the sculptures are a stand in for the confusion and chaos we may encounter throughout life as well as the never ending challenges, big and small.
Outside of sculpture, Igor Grechanyk also works in mixed media. His mixed media pieces are bold and graphic, and contrast greatly with his dark, monochrome sculptures. They have similar references to the subconscious and mythology, featuring human figures and textured, abstracted backgrounds. Grechanyk melds traditional references to mythology, ideas of existentiality, and what it means to be human through his art. These thoughts and questions beautifully translate to an exploration of abstracted forms, soft movements, and an ongoing permanence that is both familiar and fleeting, and connects us all throughout time and space.