Participating in exhibitions in 1976, N. Pukhinda is taking her time and isn’t readily integrating into the context of Lviv art culture with its aged traditions and more than a few hundreds of painters, each of whom is building his/her own art concept – from stylistically primitive huts up to the palaces of moguls from the East.
But that’s quite comprehensible – while everybody seems to be delighting in post-modern game playing that has quite a distant relation to the true art with its quite strict requirements of craft knowing and mastering of formed life and aesthetic positions, N. Pukhinda stands out by putting her self-assessment level untypical high for a woman to which she longs again in untypical non-feminine way, strictly and purposefully. Her work scope, quite numerous, though not too diverse, can be characterised as one of the attempts (in our city – one of the first attempts) to come back to reassuringly realistic vision and slightly romanticized interpretation of environment, that in a great deal falls into foreseeing the way art would develop in coming decades by a known theoretician Joseph Beuys.
N. Pukhinda is capable of getting expressed in almost all basic genres of paining – portrait, landscape (quite often incorporating a still life) and still life in its refined form.
In dead nature, though, the artist prefers objects that endured the trial of time – zoo, 150, 50 years the least, this phenomena is also logical. In the everyday existence, quite hectic, if not to say theatre-absurdious, among ephemeral entities, ideas that come and go, the human consciousness is in need of at least islands of stability, that could serve, as in a saying, as a beginning to begin form again the next day. N. Pukhinda’s canvases are called to do it, conforming and optimistic in its internal tranquillity. Here it should be noted that as a starting point, the artist doesn’t take the Dutch still life of the 15th century, that in fact took the dead nature and defined it into an independent genre; for the Dutch burghers such images servered as a business card of its owner’s welfare, success and prosperity. N. Pukhinda’s compositions have a somewhat different internal filling, they have much more of analytics of artists-explorers (and Shevchenko among them) that participated in geographical expeditions in 18th – 19th centuries that were meticulously registering all that new and uncommon that was coming on their way. This branch of painting is derived from artist-explorers of the Renaissance epoch /Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Durer/, for whom the cognizing of the world was one of the essential components of the formation of a new man, tradition of an expedition artist (though their role with the discovery of a photography, somehow diminished) has carried on until nowadays, a well-known Russian artist Olexandr Yakovlev was one of the participants in a motor race through the African continent in 1928 exactly as a documentary painter. When the expedition was over, the exhibition of his works took place in the most prestigious museums of the New and Old Worlds. They were of invariable success, because, as making sense the experts stated ‘no photo-camera can get out of life its essence.’
N. Pukhinda’s still life, while illusively conflictless, is not deprived of “underwater reefs” that one could notice only after a thorough contemplation, looking at it again and again. For instance, looking at a quite reputable still life with a Gondius portrait of hetman Bohdan Khmelnytskyy, at some moment you start deciphering it: the empty wine pitcher on the left evokes Shevchenko’s words “If that you, Bohdan, drunk…” and hetman Doroshenko’s coat of arms at a background conjures up associations with one of Khmelnytskyy’s successors, that as far as possible was trying to amend the political faults of his prominent predecessor.
Similarly, the warning is read in another, superficially elegant still life with a beer jug, pipe, snuffbox and a clock. Here, the memory brings up the words of one of the fascist ideologists, who said that “by giving the Slavs alcohol and tobacco, the problem with Eastern territories can be solved within two generations”. That the canvas is about us you know from an image on a snuffbox and a clock on a wall hints at a time of Existence of “two generations” mentioned.
Of course, the range of the artist’s works also includes less symbolically charged paintings, merely funny and irrational works, created in a burst of inspiration, for instance “Taran’ka” (stockfish) – five dried fishes and a beer jug, ready to be filled in with amber liquid and a foam top. Table cloth folds, chimerical covolutions of the dried fishes’ carcasses together with monumentally-solid forms of the beer jug create the mood of anticipation of gourmet delight. The colour set strengthens the warmth impression of the painting.
The portrait painting takes quite a humble place in N. Pukhinda’s works, but only because the artist allows herself to portrait only those that she knows well and the process of a character study very often stretches over the years. Nevertheless, the portraits by the artist, provide the exhaustive nature of the people on the canvases – their tastes, the habits, the longings.
Her works the artist doesn’t exhibit often, but opts for prestigious exhibitions in Kyiv or Lviv and as well as abroad: Toronto, Vienna, Vilnius and Geneva. Most of these canvases would stay in the museums and private collections of the cities they were exhibited in. However, to their places soon come new compositions as the creation process for N. Pukhinda is one of the most pleasant things in life. This process isn’t easy, resembles polishing of gems, but this what makes it exciting, not just for the author but for the numerous fans of her talent.