Rape of Proserpina
47,24 x 39,37 in
120,0 x 100,0 cm
…Discrete, irregular areas of varying color and tone defined by dark borders create chromatic islands, an archipelago forming figures emerging from the darkness into the bright, Caravaggesque light. This technique is inspired by stained glass windows where each section of colored glass is fitted with a lead collar then fused with others to create a luminous, multi-figured composition. In appropriating elements of Old Master compositions Mikhaylov extracts them from their original context and relocates them in the present. Merging religious themes with a mode of representation referring to stained glass suggests the observer occupies a special space, a spiritual space similar to the interior of a chapel, an effect enhancing the painting’s aura and meaning.
…Criminal Code 148 refers to Danish painter Carl Heinrich Bloch’s (1834-1890), Casting out the Money Changers from the Temple. Article 148, passed by the Duma in the aftermath of the Pussy Riot controversy, makes illegal any words or actions offending religious sensibilities. The irony is that under this law, the gun toting figures Mikhaylov has added could arrest Christ Himself for His attack on the corrupt religious practices of the day – a comment on the cozy nature of church/state relations in Russia.
Dr. Michael P. Mezzatesta