Biography

1965 — born in Slutsk, Minsk Region
1977-1980 — studied at Slutsk Art School under V. Sadin
1980-1984 — studied at Minsk State Art College named after A. Glebov under O. Lutzevich
Since 1993 has lived in the village of Khoruzhi near Minsk. 


Elena Barkhatkova — a springtime person — was born on May 24, during the blossoming of the gardens and the awakening of the powers of the earth. Maybe that’s why in her paintings the sun shines so bright, the flowers and the fruits sparkle so cheerfully, and so palpable are the touch of the wind and the scent of the grass. Elena unites still life and landscape in a single painting naturally and effectively: be it a contrasting chiaroscuro, a counter light of verdure, translucent in the sun like a stain-glass, or the miracles of the optical tricks of perspective — some of the elements of Elena’s style or all of them together will enchantingly affect even those who know nothing about either realistic tradition in painting or the dynasty of the Barkhatkovs. Elena depicts the world that surrounds her everyday life: her and her husband’s house, garden, fields around it, the flowers, and the trees that she looks after herself. The birds and the animals, all the inhabitants of her own cosmos are under her protection and care. And it may be said that the painter Elena Barkhatkova is the creator of both her paintings and the reality they depict. Her powerful vitality, strong character, and incredible diligence allowed the young painter Elena Novik to develop her creative individuality in the family of the famous Belarusian painters Barkhatkovs. In the Minsk Glebov Art School, a painter and a distinguished pedagogue Oleg Lutsevich effectively passed on to his talented student Elena the principle of vision that he regarded as the most important for an artist: every object is a volume in space — be it a human figure or a semitransparent sphere formed by the bundle of willow twigs. Thus,
through the synthesis of different influences during her education, Elena established her relationships with Space and Color — the main instruments of the creation of the effect of physical presence that unavoidably appears around the works of Elena Barkhatkova. Every her canvas is a pleasant trap prepared for the viewer in advance: we are immediately inside this landscape, already have visited all its surroundings and are looking at them from a distance through the bunch of flowers that we have recently plucked ourselves. It seems that while constructing the composition the author takes us, spectators, into account as a kind of «volumes», elements of composition in the space of her painting: without being aware of it, we form a part of her works and we are assigned in this composition a specific place on the our side of the spectral boundary of the canvas. But who, in turn, looks at us from the depths of her paintings through the same still life that stands between these parallel worlds? Maybe it is the Arab horses Zabava and Chatabi or their friend Fadel — family members and art models of the married couple Barkhatkovs, walking freely around their farmstead in the village Horuzhi near Rakov? Or maybe it is Elena herself? In any case, there are quite complicated relations between reality and illusion in her paintings; her paintings are in fact very theatrical, because Elena plays her very own game with nature. This life is far from being sill and the hidden dramaturgy in it creates a kind of tension that is much appreciated by the viewers, as much as Elena’s painting technique itself, energetic, even dashing — and at the same time disciplined and thorough. Look at the table-stage on her canvases, at the spectacular postures of the main heroes (flowers-fruits) situated there, at the arrangement and lighting of the corps de ballet (hens, horses, dogs, cats, sometimes — staffage human figures), scenery and wings (apple trees, sheds, lilac bushes, blooming and dry grass), at the a bit exaggerated (in the same degree as the perspective) contrasts of the tones and colors (is it something like a light make-up — the «actress Spring»?), at the wonderfully painted landscape background! And are we the spectators or the extras, staffage figures that somebody sees from the depths of the canvas or the dear guests of the beautiful homestead of the hostess Elena — we cannot understand anyway. It is the two Elena’s sons who are more used to work with abstract notions and terms — the art historian Igor and the philosopher Anton Barkhatkov. «Facts are the most fantastic thing in the world». And if we change «facts» for «reality», this idea may well give a new impulse to the development of the realistic painting that survived safe and sound here in Belarus up to the XXI century, in particular, thanks to the bright and sincere art of Elena Nikolaevna Barkhatkova.

T. Bembel 


© 2020 Elena Barkhatkova.
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