Gumeniuk Pipes 2_for Press Office
A Ukrainian steel factory and a BP chemical works in Yorkshire provided the inspiration for a series of artworks on display in Cambridge University Library’s Entrance Hall.
We hope that visitors to the University Library, both in person and online, will enjoy the imagery of Ulyana Gumeniuk’s large and striking paintings and the style, colour and symbolism of Feodosii Humeniuk’s pictures"
The paintings by Cambridge-based artist Ulyana Gumeniuk, daughter of artist-dissident Feodosiy Humeniuk, show internal factory views, scrapped cars and other striking images to offer a unique artistic take on industrial architecture.
Ulyana studied art in St Petersburg and London and most recently held the Trinity College post of Commoner Fellow in Creative Arts, from 2009-2011.
The exhibition of six large-scale paintings, displayed in collaboration with Cambridge Ukrainian Studies, will hang in the Library’s Entrance Hall from April 2012 to January 2013.
Visits to the enormous Zaporizhzhia Steel factory in south-eastern Ukraine and the BP Saltend Plant in Yorkshire provided material for the pictures on display.† ’Pipes 2’ shows an internal factory view in close and almost reverent detail, whereas 3 and 4 in the series use more striking forms.
The pair of paintings ’Consumed 1 & 2’ contain Ulyana’s interests in commodities and waste and in the relationship between microscopic matter and what it forms.† ’Consumed/Ribosome’ contains scrapped cars within a framework of crystalline structures, and ’Consumed/Mitochondria’ shows Rubenesque human forms outlined by the curves of intricate cell biology.
With both ’Consumed 1 & 2’ and ’Entropy’, Ulyana has used the approach of the classical vanitas still lives, which contained specific small objects that were deeply symbolic. Details in Ulyana’s paintings also trigger different thoughts, and produce a kaleidoscopic effect.
Eight pictures in coloured pencil by Ulyana’s father, the great Ukrainian artist Feodosiy Humeniuk, are also on display.† While they are accessible in person only to readers, an online display of both sets of pictures is available on the University Library’s website.
Feodosiy Humeniuk’s subjects come from Ukrainian folklore and ritual, and his pictures overflow with colour and symbolic imagery.† While Feodosiy normally works in paint rather than the coloured pencils used for the pictures on display, the pieces are nevertheless highly representative of his work.
Depictions of traditional Ukrainian customs, such as Koliada, the cycle of pagan winter rituals incorporated into the celebration of Christmas, incorporate deeply Ukrainian symbols.† As the national flower, the sunflower represents Ukraine itself, for example, and the cockerel symbolises the cultural and spiritual awakening of the country and its people.
University Librarian Anne Jarvis said she was delighted to see the work of two such striking artists on display.
"We hope that visitors to the University Library, both in person and online, will enjoy the imagery of Ulyana Gumeniuk’s large and striking paintings and the style, colour and symbolism of Feodosii Humeniuk’s pictures.† The University Library has worked on this exhibition with Cambridge Ukrainian Studies, whose support and input we have greatly valued."
Rory Finnin, lecturer in Ukrainian Studies, said: "I am thrilled that Cambridge Ukrainian Studies’ commitment to promoting Ukrainian culture has come together in this beautiful exhibition with the University Library’s celebration of modern art."