Rowan | Razgulin – A Comparative Study of American Realism & Russian Fauvism

Artist’s Proof Gallery Relocated on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown, Featuring; “American Realism and Russian Fauvism; Comparing Carol Rowan and Victor Razgulin.” Artist’s Proof Gallery celebrates a collection of portraiture, landscape, color, and line.

The decision to showcase two seemingly unrelated artists is inspired by a debate that has raged in artistic circles for centuries. Carol Rowan, with her intensely realistic landscapes and playful portraits of animals, works with line to order her compositions. Victor Razgulin, with his animated brushstrokes and expressive palette, explores color to animate his painting. The battle for the primacy of color versus line has raged since the Renaissance, pitting the Florentine school of disegno, or drawing, with Titian and the Venetian school of colorito, or coloring. The Baroque era saw Poussin and Rubens, the 19th century saw Impressionism break from Academicism. While Rowan and Razgulin’s personal influences are idiosyncratic and nuanced, together they are a testament to the enduring and unresolved tension of color and line or abstraction and realism in 21st century Contemporary Art.

Carol Rowan, a recipient of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Drawing Award, has exhibited in the Corcoran Museum of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Washington National Cathedral. Her pieces are elaborately descriptive, yet disarmingly lighthearted. Born in Connecticut, Rowan now maintains two studios in Washington, D.C., and Maine. Her masterful draftsmanship communicates landscape, still life, and a variety of architectural forms with ease.  Despite a faithful devotion to Realism, her work reflects inspiration from artists as diverse as Jackson Pollock and Vermeer.  Rowan’s landscapes in particular owe considerable debt to the early American sublime landscapes of Bierstadt, Church, and Cole.

Victor Razgulin was born in 1948 in the ancient Russian town of Gorodets on the Volga River, a city known for its original folk art and temple frescoes. Perennially moved by Russian landscape, his paintings are bold compositions of color and subject. Razgulin is a master at translating folk and naïve images of his beloved Russia into sophisticated paintings.  Known as the Russian Matisse, Razgulin’s portraits of intimate interior settings are contemporary expressions of a traditional style that typify elegance and modernity.  His jewel-toned palette, geometric patterns and painterly surfaces merge with his subjects to express Razgulin’s perspective and understanding of our world.