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Egor Ostrov

Egor Ostrov was born in Leningrad in 1970 into a family of artists. Through learning painting from his grandmother, an academic painter Lea Ostrova, reading books illustrated by his father Svetozar Ostrov, from his early childhood Egor was absorbing the aesthetics of perfectionism. After graduating
from school, Egor developed a passion for science and enrolled in Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute and later, in the Academy of Arts. Meeting Timur Novikov in early 90-s and taking part in the New Academy of Fine Arts defined his way forward. Soon afterwards Egor Ostrov found his unique style. In 1992 he created his first paintings in the raster technique that later became his signature style. A 1994 landmark exhibition made Egor one of the most successful young Russian painters of that time.
Throughout the years, Egor collaborated with various famous galleries. His works are stored and being exhibited at largest international museums (Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, National Museum of
Contemporary Art in Oslo, Sinebrychoff Art Museum in Helsinki, The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg) and private collections.
Ostrov lives and works in Moscow since 2001.

Egor Ostrov

Egor Ostrov was born in Leningrad in 1970 into a family of artists. Through learning painting from his grandmother, an academic painter Lea Ostrova, reading books illustrated by his father Svetozar Ostrov, from his early childhood Egor was absorbing the aesthetics of perfectionism. After graduating
from school, Egor developed a passion for science and enrolled in Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute and later, in the Academy of Arts. Meeting Timur Novikov in early 90-s and taking part in the New Academy of Fine Arts defined his way forward. Soon afterwards Egor Ostrov found his unique style. In 1992 he created his first paintings in the raster technique that later became his signature style. A 1994 landmark exhibition made Egor one of the most successful young Russian painters of that time.
Throughout the years, Egor collaborated with various famous galleries. His works are stored and being exhibited at largest international museums (Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, National Museum of
Contemporary Art in Oslo, Sinebrychoff Art Museum in Helsinki, The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg) and private collections.
Ostrov lives and works in Moscow since 2001.

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Egor Ostrov’s work exists at the junction of two major trends in art: tradition and innovation. The painting blurs the line between figuration and abstraction in this almost blind spot of contemporary art.

Born in Leningrad in 1970 in a family of hereditary artists, Egor Ostrov continued the dynasty. Even as a kid Egor absorbed the aesthetics of artistic perfectionism, having learned the drawing from his grandmother, the academic artist Leah Ostrova, and getting acquainted with the illustrations of his father Svetozar Ostrov,. Pursuing his passion for science  Egor began his studies in the Electrotechnical Institute, and only later – in the Academy of Arts. At this time, Timur Novikov created the New Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, whose main task was to preserve the ideals of beauty and the classical European tradition in art. Once in its ranks, Egor Ostrov immediately became one of the most successful young artists. 

The subjects of the paintings of Egor Ostrov are the works of the Old Masters. His work demonstrates the artist’s ability to see relevance between classics and modernity. All the subjects are carefully selected,  it can be a series of heads, figurative scenes, landscapes and genre scenes. In all of them, Egor captures the essential,  revealing it by the means of modern art. Moreover, often it is a detail selected according to the principle of the golden section. 

The formation of Egor Ostrov as an independent artist has happened, as we have already said through the classical drawing and painting, gum arabic and many other techniques. In 1992, Egor Ostrov found what he was looking for: combining new technologies and classic materials – canvas and paints, he found his territory in the world of art, where he has been working for the next 28 years.

Egor is constantly experimenting and refining his own technologies and materials. For the first 10 years, he meticulously drew every line with a brush, using all kinds of materials and methods for perfectly transferring lines to canvas, wood or mirror. The production of each work took a significant amount of time and it was impossible to realize all the sketches conceived. In the early 2000s, it became possible to cut stencils and use high-tech automotive paints in sprays, and for the next 10 years he experimented in this direction. Over the past few years, Egor has continued to use stencils, but the approach has changed somewhat: he takes more time to choose images, works on sketches for a long time, and again he does a serious part of the work manually with a brush. From the very beginning, Egor tried to follow the classical technologies of producing a work of art: well-stretched canvas, high-quality soil and colorfastness prolong the life of the work. Even to the choice of materials, Egor Ostrov is suitable from a classical point of view, therefore porcelain is not accidental as a second material.

Egor’s work is an optical art and it requires a lively eye. Work should have been seen live as the goal is to “deceive” human vision and its neural mechanism or perception. The secret of the illusion is to use color contrasts and geometry in creating movement on a flat surface through the interaction between the retina (the organ that “sees” the image) and the brain (which interprets it). The human gaze is “attracted” to contrasting areas. The sharp boundaries between light and shadow attract attention, and the perception of contrast intensifies – the phenomenon of “antagonism of the center-environment”. Each painting creates the effect of movement, against the background of which an illusory image appears while being viewed. Egor explores such abstract ideas as eternity, infinity and the impossible.

The basis of the artistic language of Egor Ostrov is a linear raster. Using the thickness and sharpness of the line, the raster transmits a black-and-white effect, helping the eye to read the image. The optical effect is so called chiaroscuro, transmitted by the thickness of the lines – a technique developed by old master engravers and implemented in computer programs in the 20th century. With aero-color professional painting supplies and computer technologies Egor recreates printing raster, demonstrating the capabilities of contemporary classical art.The raster serves its direct purpose: it creates the images of classical art on canvases through the finest gradations of lights and shadows. Raster bands create movement, which can be centrifugal or centripetal, it moves, flows, runs, snakes or curls in a circle, vibrates, trembles, closes or pours out the limits of the canvas. Moreover, this movement has features, it is always uniform, the speed is always dictated by the artist himself, and the rhythm is self-reproducing every time, the viewer looks at the image.

The work of Egor is akin to meditation, as if the paintings are creating themselves in the eyes of the beholder, and the stripes line up in a harmonious and strict order, allowing to catch the image through the grid of the raster.
Sometimes it seems that  the raster itself dictates to its creator the rules for constructing the composition, its voice can be weaker or stronger, but it is undeniable that he dictates to the viewer how to look and see each individual work – a conscious dodge of the artist. He draws us into the space of painting, optically deceives, slipping abstract geometry instead of a figurative image, teases and returns the image to its place, depending on our proximity to the picture and the attentiveness of the look.

Egor Ostrov masterly uses optical effects in such a way, that every time you look at his painting a small miracle happens, and an image stands out from abstract lines. For all the complexity of technology, the multilayered meanings, the science of optics, the paintings by Ostrov are simultaneously encrypted and straightforward, simple and multifaceted, concise and verbose and above all just poetically beautiful.

Selected Solo and Group Shows

2019 -2020
Egor Ostrov Solo Show. Gallery A-s-t-r-a-, Moscow
2018
Canon. Egor Ostrov and Grigoriy Orekhov. Orekhov Gallery, Moscow
2015
Book of Pontormo. Solo Show of Egor Ostrov, Knop’s Castle, Moscow
Absolute Beauty – Neoacademism in Saint Petersburg. Ludwig Museum, Budapest
2014
Selected. Transatlantiqe Gallery. Moscow
2012
In the Flow. ArtMost Galley. Mayfair, London
2011-2012
New Academy. Ekaqterina Art Foundation. Moscow
2011
Immodern Art (with Elena Ulantseva) Knop’s Castle, Moscow
2008
String Theory. State Academy of Fine Art, Moscow
2007
Sign and Image. Attelier No.2, Moscow
Image and Sign. D137 Gallery, Saint Petersburg
New Positive Process. State Center for Photography, Saint Petersburg
2004
Depth of Field: Egor Ostrov and Arno Brecker. D137 Gallery, Saint Petersburg
2003
New Academists. Look Art Gallery, London
The Snowqueen’s Way: Egor Ostrov and Belyaev Gintovt. New academy of Fine Arts, Saint Petersburg
2001-2002
Beauty and Eritism. Gallery Gasunie, Groningem
2000
Successors of Sparta. Synebruchoff Art Museum, Helsinki
1998
New Possitive Processes. State Russian Museum/State Hermitage, Saint Petersburg
Seven Lines to the Inch. Aidan Gallery, Moscow
Saint Petersburg Neoacademist Photography. Museum Foreign Art, Riga
1997
Kabinet. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1996
Egor Ostrov: Paintings. Galerie Rotloff, Karlsruhe
Metaphern des Entrucktseins. Aktuelle Kunst aus St. Petersburg. Badischer
Kunstverein/Karlsruher Kunstlerhaus, Karlsruhe
1994-1995
Self-Indetification : Positions in Saint Petersburg art from 1970 until today /
Kiel, Berlin, Oslo, Sopot, Copenhagen, Saint Petersburg.
1994
Renaissance and Resistance. State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg
Achilles. New Academy of Fine Arts, Saint Petersburg

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