Human and nature: the naturalistic paintings of Yaroslav Leonets
Featured Ukraine artist Yaroslav Leonets embodies the battle for communication and connection by exploring the atmospheres surrounding him while striving to portray the beauty behind nature and human interaction.
Deep within the veils of society rests the profound individual desire to be understood and communicate, yet this unconscious phenomenon morphs within the preconceived notions of the industrial being. However, as individual ethic foundations seem to stretch into darkness, a prevailing idea still afflicts most- it's the human connection with the self, others and nature leading us upwards or downhill?
We must acknowledge that change permeates both human and natural environments. We are eager for the different, the unconventional and the controversial, and in this pursuit of righteous and moral heights, most forget the critical little things that apply to human life. If the past months have taught us something, it is that global social and political atmospheres and environments can abruptly change without warning. Fortunately, the art community does not overlook the change that permeates global political and climate atmospheres.
Ukraine artist Yaroslav Leonets embodies this battle for communication and connection by exploring the atmospheres surrounding him while striving to portray the beauty behind nature and human interaction. Using his traditional background in figurative painting, Leonets illustrates his childhood desire for nature and family values by creating artworks with very fluid brushstrokes and earthy tonal ranges.
"I have always been inspired by searching for new forms of communication with the world; therefore, my childhood research has turned into my life's work." The artist tells me. "As an artist, I see myself in various art forms like painting, graphics, and sculpture. I experiment a lot, looking for new ways to convey the reality in which I live."
In one of his painting series entitled Connection with Nature, Leonets explores the interconnection of nature and humans, highlighting the significance of this ancient interaction on individual roots. Every brushstroke is fluid and intensional, depicting the artist's notion of nature and harmony; the choice of oil colours is earthy and expressive, telling us the story of nature's unpredictability and society's negative interpretation of it; Every painting reflects the artist's connections to a natural environment different from the mainstream interpretations.
"Humanity and nature are inextricably linked with each other. One not only lives in the environment of nature, he regularly uses its resources. But, the desire for comfort kills not only the love of nature but also nature itself." Leonets states." Many people simply believe that nature owes everything to man. Using natural resources, you must at least appreciate them and treat mother nature as a human."
Leonets's approach to painting and social and environmental justice doesn't end here. In several of his painting series, Social and Family, we can witness the artist's evolution as a painter and his unwavering commitment to highlighting humanity's capacity to endure and adapt. Through these series, we can see the artist's affinity with family and the individual's unique culture and background that makeup one's exceptional character.
Leonets's philosophy of work and deep connection to his subject matter led him to be part of several exhibitions, such as the 2020 Takeda. Art / Help. The rule of exclusivity in Moscow and Anticipation + Immunity at the Museum of Contemporary Ukrainian Art Korsakov in Lutsk. Also, the artist has participated in several residencies, one of which is the Human Rights Art Residence ARTIF in 2020.
The significance of his series of works reaches many areas, but chief among them is the searing reminder that the connection between humans and nature is symbiotic, therefore, should be protected. Artists like Leonets create an avenue of discourse between the audience and critical societal topics "that teach people and change them at the subconscious level".
Featured in the print edition of July/August, 2022.
All images courtesy of Yaroslav Leonets.
Hi, my name is Yaroslav Leonets and I’m a modern artist from Ukraine.
A few words about me and my life. Since childhood, I have felt the necessity to articulate my feelings in a nonverbal way because l could not express myself with words. I spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts and feelings. And this made me find a way to communicate with the world, telling about my feelings and personal glance at it. But gestures, facial expressions, and physiognomy were not enough to speak with the world.
I could not convey what I saw around but I’ve tried visual art and gradually through various artistic images I found a way to reveal and express what I really feel. I have always been inspired by the search of new forms of communication with the world; therefore, my childhood research has turned into
the work of my life.
As an artist, I see myself in various forms of art like painting, graphics, and sculpture. I experiment a lot, looking for new ways to convey the reality in which I live. I often synthesize various materials.
I graduated: the Kharkiv Art College, the Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts at the Faculty of Fine Arts, easel painting, and the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kyiv gave me a MA degree in faculty of monumental painting. I’ve been working lately in the genre of paintings and graphics. In my artworks, I strive to obtain
the beauty of nature and human interaction with nature. I also work on social issues, topics that address inner experiences and that highlight our connection to nature and identification. Environmental issues and legal issues. Through this figurative topics, l express my emotions and feelings.
Credo: Art is the way of subjective communication with the surrounding world. Using various visual means to express unique, clean, childlike feelings.
See more of Leonets work below
In conversation: Meg Peters
Meg Peters is a poet, human rights activist, writer, and former sailor. Born and raised in Connecticut, she has called many places home from Massachusetts to Italy. With an academic background in international law and global affairs, her poetry reflects changing global environments and the interpersonal experiences that occur in settings from the sea to large metropolitan cities.