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Albina
Georgievna Akritas

Russia 
born in 1934
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Thesis in the CVC - "Bathing tractor drivers", the rating is satisfactory. The training took place at the faculty of painting, qualification of the artist of painting was awarded.

Born July 12, 1934 in Moscow. Father - Akritas Georgy Fedorovich. Mother - Simakova Valentina Iosifovna. Spouse - Ogurtsov Oleg Fedorovich (born in 1933). Son - Nikita Olegovich Ogurtsov (born in 1962).

 

The creative fate of Albina Akritas was determined in childhood. She grew up in Tbilisi, here she graduated from high school. Like most children, Albina loved to draw. She could fantasize ad infinitum, deploying adventure series on many sheets. She retained this addiction to "seriality" in her work for life.

 

The first mentor of Albina in painting was a school teacher, Gleb Nikolayevich Dick, who noticed in her drawings an extraordinary self-expression. He began to tactfully support her passion and managed to instill in her a taste for serious pursuits. Thanks to this attentive, intelligent person, Albina became stronger in the desire to become an artist. Soon she began to engage in a circle of amateur artists, which was led by the famous master of the old Petersburg school Vasily Ivanovich Shukhaev, who lived in Georgia at that time.

 

After graduating from the Painting Department of the I.E. Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1961 Repin in Leningrad, where she studied with V.M. Oreshnikova, B.S. Ugarova and A.A. Mylnikova, Albina Akritas, together with her husband, the painter Oleg Ogurtsov, left for distribution in Bryansk. In 1962, she became a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR.

 

Initially, the work of Albina Akritas was dominated by large graphic series. The artist worked in various graphic techniques: engraved on linoleum, tried the dry needle technique, etching, lithography. For the first time, she turned to the schedule while still living in Bryansk. Among the first works in this genre are "Builders" (1964) and "Old Tbilisi" (1964).

 

In 1966, a series of linoleum engravings was made based on the works of the Belgian poet Emil Verharn. Poems attracted the artist with their vital fullness, sense of objectivity, and vivid visualization. The cycle is based on images of people from the people, strong and rude. The action takes place non-vainly, slowly; stable, calm compositional constructions; gestures and movements of figures that live in organic unity with space are rhythmically simple and clear.

 

The transition to work on the next series, Laundresses in Pereslavl-Zalessky (1966), which in its own way is connected with the previous one, seems completely natural. There is a feeling that the Verkharn images were transferred to Russian soil. This is the artist’s first major work using black and white cardboard engraving. And it is with this technique that the beginning of a new stage in the work of Albina Georgievna, the acquisition of her own graphic language and individual artistic manner, is associated.

 

Then the series “Twenty-First Year” was created - the artist’s first, made in the technique of color engraving on cardboard. In an effort to convey the harsh spirit of the time, the artist muffles the color. Simple and artless plots of engravings in this series reflect the most characteristic phenomena of those years: "Rabfak", "At a construction site", "Hunger", "Spring", "In the village".

 

Turning to color engraving, Albina Akritas continued to intensively carry out her plans in black and white engraving. As she mastered the qualities of cardboard as a material, she developed various generalization techniques, improved the composition, achieving clarity and refinement. To a certain extent, artistic thinking was close to the sculptor’s thinking - in understanding the plasticity of the human figure, in the pursuit of density, materiality, in interest in the problem of volume movement in space. But the basis of all the graphic works of the artist has always been painting. By the turn of the 1960s and 70s, her work had become more mature, her language became richer and more nuanced, her images more profound.

 

The works of Albina Akritas of this period, in their spirit and plastic properties, merge with the art of "severe style", the heyday of which marked the 1960s. The commonality is reflected in the figurative system of her works - in strict pathetics, intense and dramatic romanticization of work and everyday life of ordinary people; it is also manifested in a craving for monumentality, to a concise, constructively clear expression.

 

In 1966, a family of artists moved to the suburbs, and in 1972, after a trip to Central Asia, Akritas began work on a series of engravings dedicated to the Baysun village. This black and white series is stronger than other works made in this technique, causing a sense of colorfulness. The sheets of the cycle are all different: in composition, scale, manner of execution. They do not unite in a series by external moments, but they draw together the mood imprinted in them, a sense of joy and a feeling of fullness of life. The originality of the Baysun series consists in the fact that the sheets were made directly from nature, that the specific prototypes served as the basis for the images. This series marks a further complication and deepening of the artistic and figurative content of the art of Albina Akritas.

 

Since the late 1960s, while working on a series of engravings "Laundresses" and "Baysun", the artist turned to the theme of the Great Patriotic War, devoting her a number of pictorial sketches, paintings, drawings.

 

In 1982, Akritas worked on the series “Forty-First Year”, making it using the technique of engraving on cardboard. At the All-Union Exhibition, dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazi invaders near Moscow, for the first time 4 sheets of color prints of the series (Farewell, Anxious Dream, On the Building of Fortifications, and Late Supper), which impressed with their inner drama, were exhibited, non-standard compositions, the power of artistic generalization. It is not a mechanical reproduction of past events that appears before the viewer: engravings are perceived as a true creation of feeling, which makes you look into images.

 

The early 1980s were unusually fruitful. By the summer of 1982, she began work on the first in her life landscape series dedicated to Leningrad parks. A series of drawings "Parks of Leningrad" is made in pencil in bright tonal range. The drawings are filled with air in which the material forms dissolve.

 

In the 1980s, a series of prints was created - "The Artist's Work" (1982-83, "Self-portrait", "Naked Model", "Sculptor", "Drawing from Life", "Evening Landscape"). On these sheets are presented various, outwardly unrelated plots of the artist’s daily work - the topic closest to Akritas. The sheets, different in their mood, formal-figurative system, and graphic techniques, combine the author’s deep reflection on the essence of creativity.

 

Then come the "Seasons" (work for the exhibition "Artists in the Struggle for Peace") and "Harvesting" (both - 1984). Akritas again turned to women, only her heroines changed a little, and the situation around them too: everything softened, brightened, some tension and severity disappeared.

 

Of great importance in the artist's work was the first trip to Greece in 1988. After it, graphic series dedicated to Ancient Greece appeared: "The Ancient Theater" (1989), "Warriors" (1989), "Characters of Ancient Greek Poetry" (1989), "Dancers" (1992), "Sirtaki" (1992). And parallel to them - a lot of picturesque canvases: “Dancers”, “Trojans”, “Abduction of Europe”, “Hermes and Maya” and a lot of landscapes from nature. The period of fascination with the themes of Hellas continues in the artist's work until now.

 

At the same time, plots of the Old and New Testaments began to appear: “Susanna and the Elders,” “The Court of King Solomon,” “Solomei before Herod,” “The Parable of the Prodigal Son,” and many others.

 

During this period, picturesque portraits, still lifes and interiors were performed. All of them are filled with a lively sense of color and plasticity, a sense of life: "Farewell", "In the locker room" (1983), "Pond in the village" (1984), "Evening" (1984), "Conversation" (1986), "Autumn" (1986), "Landscape in England" (1990), "Monastery in Pereslavl-Zalessky" (1990), "House in Selyatin" (1991) and many others.

 

In 2000, the White Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts was decorated with seven picturesque panels on the theme "The History of Psyche" according to an ancient legend from the "Metamorphoses" of Apuleius.

 

Since school years, Albina Akritas has loved Apuleius' Metamorphoses. Time did not extinguish attachment to a wise and luminous parable, and often, sitting in the White Hall, she could not help feeling the invisible presence of the heroes of the legend. In 1997, she decided to talk about her desire to write new panels on the theme "History of Psyche" to the President of the Russian Academy of Arts Zurab Tsereteli. Zurab Konstantinovich approved the initiative, and the artist took up the work, starting with a study of literary and historical sources in museums, libraries, archives. In the summer, Akritas left for Greece - she painted temples, sculptures, the sea, mountains, olives, trying to saturate the work with an atmosphere of genuine antiquity. Then she worked all winter in the workshop on sketches, in the summer - again in Greece, in the winter - again in the workshop ...

 

The artist wanted to preserve and support with painting the bright volume of the White Hall, not to fill in the gaps between the main subjects, to make the images necessary ingredients of the architectural space.

 

Choosing material for future panels, after long trials and doubts, Akritas settled on casein-oil tempera, lightness, velvety, freshness of which she could not find in other technologies (although she knew all the difficulties associated with this, the main of which was the change in color and tone in progress). This decision was suggested to her by the murals of temples in Novgorod, Pskov, Ferapontov. She painted paints by hand, according to the workshop recipes of ancient and medieval masters. January 14, 2000 she began to write the first panel - "The Wedding of Psyche and Cupid." I had to learn everything at once: new material, figurative, coloristic and tonal structure, dimensions. Fearing to enslave herself, ruin the immediacy and freshness of living painting, Akritas worked directly on the canvas, changing groups, movements, details, and even coloring along the way. Having mastered the techniques in the "Wedding", the rest of the panel finished faster. On July 12, 2000, the canvases were completed, and in August brought to Prechistenka and fortified on the walls of the White Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts.

 

In many ways, the painting of Akritas is peculiar. In terms of simplicity of design, composition, rhythm, and manner of generalizing the images of her canvases, they are similar to graphic works. They are characterized by a thick, colorful mass, in which volumes are either born or dissolved. Coloristic gamma is complex; Under the influence of the always “mysterious” light source, the paints seem to begin to flicker in various shades. Subtle color orchestration robs everyday, nonparadise plots of downside. It allows you to convey the ambiguity of the state of mind, internal tension, reflect the depth of emotional experience.

 

Albina Akritas uses different materials: oil painting, tempera, watercolor, collage, engraving and etching, lithography, complex mixed media. But in her works there are no abrupt transitions from one style to another, the artist does not follow fashion. The main thing for her is the completeness of the expression of her attitude to the world, the clarity of her creative position. The ability of Akritas to internally tune into her characters, to penetrate their feelings and emotional world makes her works psychologically convincing for the viewer.

 

In 1999, on the 200th anniversary of A.S. Pushkin she completed a large cycle of works devoted to the poet.

 

Creativity A.S. Pushkin always fascinated and excited the artist. She began to write poetry about the poet, made the first drawings. As a result, two cycles appeared - “The Stone Guest” and “The Queen of Spades”, as well as graphic sheets from the life of Pushkin. All of them are made by mixed technique: collage, tempera, gouache, mascara, pastel, monotype, classic pencil. For these works in 1999 A.G. Akritas was awarded the gold medal of the Russian Academy of Arts.

 

Since 1962, Albina Akritas participated in all major all-Union and Russian republican art exhibitions, exhibitions of Russian fine art in France, Great Britain, Italy, the USA, Japan and other countries. Her personal exhibitions were held in Moscow (1972, 1985, 1993, 1996, 2001), St. Petersburg (1987), Naro-Fominsk (1999), Vilnius (1970), Warsaw (1974), Belgrade (1974), Boston (1989 ), London (1990), Athens (1992), Vienna (1995). Her works are in the collections of the State Tretyakov Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts named after A.S. Pushkin Museum of Modern Art in Moscow and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, in many museums in cities of Russia and the CIS countries, as well as acquired by the galleries of Edmond Rosenfeld "Les Oreades" (Paris, France), Maria Sheremetyeva (Boston, USA), Sam Davidson (Seattle, USA), Otto Heinz (Vienna, Austria), Yogo Riot (Kyoto, Japan), as well as collectors of England, Germany, Greece and South Korea.

 

A.G. Akritas is a full member of the Russian Academy of Arts (1997), a member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Arts since 1999, Honored Artist of Russia (1981). For her creative successes, she was repeatedly awarded prizes and diplomas.

 

Albina Georgievna is a member of the Union of Writers of Russia, she is the author of two poetry collections (1990, 1999), articles in catalogs (1985, 1988, 1993, 2000), numerous publications in magazines and newspapers.

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