"Raceme" Uliana Nyshchuk-Borysiak

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Date: 2013-10-29 - 2013-11-24

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15,5)

Winegrape is one of the central symbols of Christianity from the Early Christian times till today. Fruit of winegrape is gathered in the moment of its very maturation, when it is almost ready to fall from a branch by itself. Then it is “tortured” and squeezed under heavy pressure, and wine is made for man to drink. In the same way crucified Christ Sais to us in the mystical transformation of Eucharist: Drink all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many… (Matthew 26, 27), for …my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. (John 6, 55-56)

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With a similar symbol we can analyze icon-painting of Uliana Nyshchuk-Borysiak, in particular, her project Hrono in Iconart gallery of contemporary sacral art. The artist uses “fruits” of Ukrainian folk culture, especially traditional engravings and icons on glass, that are often forgotten today, but so mature in their ingenious simplicity. She “grinds” them and “squeezes” from them original paintings – nourishment for contemporary culture. In her works appear Theotokos with a Child, archangel Michael, saint George the Dragon-Slayer, saint Basil the Great, saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Saints Peter and Paul and all the most popular saints in Ukraine, patrons of the cities, guardians of the Church, defenders from evil, custodians of animals and fields, intercessors in prayer; those who are in a royal robes in Heaven next to God; those in whom Christ remains; those who bear much fruit…

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In the project they are united in common raceme, that consists from images presented in extended oval forms. Uliana interprets this form as form of grapevine berry that is one of her favorite. Besides that, we can read in this oval the form of mandorla - radiance of divine energies that surrounded Transfigured Christ on the Tabor mountain. At the same time, we can consider this unusual form as a keyhole in door through which we can look in this cluster if saints. We see fragment of Interceding Mother of God, next to Her Grand Theotokos and distant George, that conquers dragon, then it looks like we see almost whole figure of Archangel Michael or great martyr Barbara and suddenly all hides and our eyes are focused on flowers ornamenting dresses of saints, next moment face of greybeard Nicholas is watching us very closely…But the most important thing we need to see in this grapevine is Crucified Christ Himself. Because he is the Wine-Stock from which every human is born – Saints and those that someday may become saints. 

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Sacral world, its ancient Christian symbolic, and, after all, folk culture that was naturally and intuitively feeding that world with its faith, is departing and approaching to us, depending on our needs and our search for it. Search of Uliana is very vivid, intuitive, emotional, outlined by daring and dynamic movements of brush, saturated with vivid accents of colour, rich with unexpected compositional techniques, that gives original author’s “sounding” to the ancient universal motives of Christian culture.

Maria Tsymbalista