“Art That Stops the Mind and Moves the Heart”

“The art of Felix Lembersky represents the creative impulse that underlies humankind’s essential urge to self-definition through conscious choices of being in any given moment of life despite the quality of that moment.” Joseph C. Troncale

Abstract

In the world where commerce and art all to often conspire to merely titillate, distract, or shock the viewer with a kind of maddening paced one-ups-man-ship, it is important and deeply heartening that work such as Felix Lembersky’s takes its place in the heart of London. Lembersky’s work was not about making a choice to conform or not to conform as some kind of grand gesture, but it was the most personal compulsion within the artist to define culture as a value in and of itself beyond ideologies, both for himself and for all of humankind. A painting or a drawing was always much more to Lembersky than something simply to be intellectually engaged. He expected his viewers to go beyond themselves, beyond their mental frameworks of reference, to stand outside of the ordinary and to feel the extraordinary in a kind of ecstasy. In such a way we participate with him in drawing back the curtain, as Avgust Lanin wrote, on a reality that is not yet understood and, in this case, defies understanding and can only be felt. «You have to plumb the depths» of Lembersky's paintings, continues Lanin, «to arrive at such a response to his work. The artist demands a response from his viewers that is equal in intensity and depth to his own.»It seems that, after all, «pure feeling,» as Malevich intimated, is the only force capable of penetrating Lembersky's work.

Biography

Professor Joseph Troncale is co-director of the Russian Studies Program at the University of Richmond and is the chair of the Department of Modern Literatures and Cultures at the University of Richmond for 2013-2014. He currently teaches Russian language courses in addition to seminars on Russian literature, Russian painting, Russian cinema, and the history of Russian cultural and intellectual development. He has also written widely in each of these areas. In collaboration with the Museum of Nonconformist Art in St. Petersburg, Russia, he has curated two exhibitions of contemporary Russian painting for the University of Richmond Museums: Recent Art from St. Petersburg (2002)and The Space of Freedom: Apartment Exhibitions from 1964-1986 (2006) . In September of 2012, Torn from Darkness: Works of Felix Lembersky , a collaborative exhibition co-curated with Yelena Lembersky, opened at the University of Richmond. He is also co-curating with a colleague and their students a collaborative exhibition of French and Russian art from Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to open in the spring of 2014 at the University of Richmond.Over the past thirty-seven years, Professor Troncale has traveled extensively and frequently in the former USSR and Russia. He has received numerous grants and fellowships and has been honored for excellence in teaching by the University of Richmond and by the states of Arizona and Virginia. Professor Troncale was among 300 university professors listed in the 2011–12 Guide to America’s Best Professors , published in April 2012 by The Princeton Review.

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