The small, unfinished portrait of a Russian laborer screams Soviet art. The subject's high cheekbones and stern expression give the piece the veneer of a propaganda poster, sans the bold statements splashed across the image in uncannily familiar, but always-foreign Cyrillic text. But a closer look reveals the delicate lines and ruddy texture of the laborer's face, indicating not just an artistic subject, a model striking a pose, but a whole life.
An eclectic but moving collection of realist paintings fills Lee Gallery at 409 S. Eighth St., Suite 101, in BODO as part of the Realism Without Borders Exhibit, hanging through Monday, Dec. 31.
Some of the pictures were painted in the 1800s, others within the last decade. Their unifying feature is a shared sensitivity toward that which moves, grows and experiences. Landscape paintings capture wind buffeting against grassy meadows, and urban images embrace the movement of trees and shadows cast by the sun against immutable buildings, cars and sidewalks.
Portraits release torrents of emotion.
Akhmed Salakhly, art consultant for Repin Art and manager of Realism Without Borders, said his mission is to show the world that Realism in the visual arts is still alive and well.
"We need to show it to everybody," he said. "I strongly believe it's art which will stay forever. I'm proud to be a part of Russian realistic art."