Canvas, Mixed media
39,37 x 74,80 in
100,0 x 190,0 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. As noted above, 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.
The source for Ioan and Karla is Caravaggio’s St. John the Baptist. The Baptist sits on the edge of a sleeping pallet to which Mikhaylov has added an attractive, nude sleeping woman. His wilderness abode, marked by bare tree branches in the background, is shared with an alluring, recumbent woman with luscious lips who he gazes upon in a manner suggestive of many possible narratives, not all spiritual, reflecting the complicated and conflicting nature of man’s desires, as we know from St. Augustine’s Confessions.
Dr. Michael P. Mezzatesta