Sergiy Hai is one of Ukraine’s most important contemporary artists. Born in the late 1950s, Serhiy Hai (better known in the Russian market as Sergiy Hai) gained an important regional reputation and has exhibited extensively in Ukraine, Russia, Eastern and Western Europe, and the United States. His work is in museum collections in Ukraine and in many private collections across Europe and in the United States. In 2019, he was chosen to represent Ukraine at the Florence Biennale.
This 2019 exhibition, is Hai’s fifth at TEW Galleries. The show features powerful paintings with typical strong design and an inventive approach to medium. Also included are bold figural ink wash drawings. As in the past, the scope of Hai’s typical imagery is quite narrow—he paints and draws nudes, figures, equestrian works and still life. These select themes are revisited over and over again in infinite variety and brought to life through the artist’s intimate perspective and impressive technique.
From a technical standpoint, Hai’s unique application of layered paint can, at times, be heavily applied, while in other instances, manifests as barely discernable washes of color. His virtuosity is undeniable; so too, is his use of smoky-rich tonalities which lend great drama to his works. The artist’s imagery is high impact, with little that is pictorially extraneous. His subjects are forthright; direct and simple without being simplistic or in any way naïve and the paintings, while masculine, are luscious and extraordinarily sensual.
Hai’s unpretentiously quick and direct approach to painting displays a lack of sentimentality but also has an extraordinarily gentle aspect; while his love of sinuous, lyrical line, cherished settings and evocative chromatism is entirely seductive.
Hai’s art invites viewers to join his reverie by suggesting outcomes yet leaving the narrative squarely in the observer’s own imagination.
̶ Jules Bekker, 2019