Maxim Bondarenko

Magical Realism and Sensuality of Color

Maxim Bondarenko, based in Sacramento, CA, is an artist who creates paintings, drawings, and mixed media pieces by exploring the language of color, texture, and composition. He uses color, texture, and composition to create a space where objects are transformed and their aesthetics become symbolic.

In mixed media artworks, through careful technical manipulations on cardboard and paint, he strives to create a fresh yet ancient and timeless feel to his artwork. His current art philosophy and techniques are the result of focusing on the Culture of a Stroke and experimenting with “oldened” textures.

He mixes post-impressionistic techniques with elements of magic realism and surrealism in his oil paintings. By using different textures, he attempts to express various spiritual and emotional states of the objects and their environment.

“I have been producing art for as long as I can recall, with the purpose changing over time. Presently, I am inspired to paint as a spiritual exercise, a way of offering myself to a higher force, be it a vortex, entity, or whatever you may choose to name it. I feel as if I am merely a tool for something more powerful, though the voice can be very faint.

In my works, I create alternate realities and explore abstract concepts. It is close to a style of painting known as Magical Realism, and draws heavily from the European tradition of Allegory. My paintings often feature reverse perspective, anthropomorphized objects, flowers, fruits, and other symbols of human life and personality. I try to make my works timeless, even though they are about the present in connection with eternity. I like to use techniques such as washing away paint and adding aged textures and multiple layers, as if cross-sectioning a tree, to portray the passing of time and destruction. My art also combines many genres, such as still life, landscape, and portraiture.

I attempt to explore sensuality as a language of spirit.

In my art, I often represent people as objects and objects as people. This is a reflection of reality, where many things are objectified or personified without us even realizing it. Through my work, I want to remind people of the complexity of life and the complexity of human emotions and feelings.

acrylic painting Screaming Vase

Instead of Art Statement

Instrument of Escape

I don’t think I ever wanted or tried to be relevant. Flowers, people, fantasy…
This is some ancient mechanism akin to procrastination, when you do something else as if it does not exist at all. This is not denial or oblivion, it is rather a desire to cancel reality. My art is not in friendship with reality.
I do not know how and do not want to convey pain and horror. Or rather, I probably could. But I have some kind of barrier inside, as if I am multiplying it. I admire what others are doing now. But here I am, too, in some sense different for everything around me.
I really do not want my painting to serve the viewer, but there is nothing I can do about it. I will always write fantasies, escape. Actually, for me it was always an escape. And I probably should be just grateful if someone else will find it useful for them.

I unconsciously try to convey in my painting all the complexity and ambiguity of not even some idea, but a way of thinking, mindset, way of denial of existent. Thinking by relationships within the whole. Therefore, the subject is not so important, all these oversexualized people, flowers, fruits... All that procreation saga. They are just color and configuration areas.

Soviet Past

For a long time I tried to answer for myself why I am not able to write 'modern' works on 'relevant' topics. I have always avoided any mention of Current moment, relevance in my paintings. My work is always timeless. There is no “here and now” in my art.
I am a product of my time and my school. The oppressive and controlling atmosphere of the late socialist era, characterized by a lack of freedom, and a state-sanctioned ideology, has taught me to ignore any ideological component and instead look for support in How It Is Done. It involves the utilization of diverse styles and techniques as a mere instrument for conveying personal expression, which is a core concept of postmodernism. I embraced a philosophy of art which was based on disregarding outside concepts and emphasizing an intangible sensuality of color. The lack of a clear concept was used as a means of rebelling against conventional beliefs, some sort of disobedience to reality. The core of my art is a disbelief to any idea as many ideas didn't survive over techniques they were presented in.

Technique over Subject

All this communication between warm and cold hues in concert with the triad of complementary colors is what really happens on my canvases. The rest is all a dream, eternity, a million possibilities and their transcriptions. I like the ambiguity, the complexity and the absence of answers.
Yes, there is something personal, like drawings of nudes, the choice of models, or my personal luck in meeting someone. As well I like to find my works as a playground for the messages from my subconscious mind. But it was never the main concept of my art. All of that, as a starting point, serves the system of the abstract music of colors.

That is why anything could be in the place of my subjects. The very principle of analyzing the form of this ‘anything’, its contrasts and relationships in space is important. Obviously I do not use 'anything' for my art, instead I place on my canvases something enjoyable - people, flowers, fruits as objects. But there is no big difference between people and fruits, or people and flowers. They are interchangeable as objects. Yes, I enjoy oversexualizing people, and fruits, and flowers. I have to recognize my tendency to view the subjects of my artwork from a Male Gaze perspective and see it as a part of the game.

Twilight Dream

Therefore, I am interested in nocturnal of twilight dreamy scenes with a complex values and warm-cold relations, a challenge, a task that needs to be solved as a color equation.

The deity of my paintings is intangible, the mood, the feeling. Exactly what the viewer will take with him, if I'm lucky enough.