Saturday 19 August 2017

What Lies Beneath: Nightshade by Sergey Talichkin

Nightshade by Sergey Talichkin, Oil on canvas, Courtesy of the artist

Nightshade by Sergey Talichkin
Nightshade by Sergey Talichkin

Niall MacMonagle

From his studio, Sergey Talichkin loves looking out over Dublin Bay. Born in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, he grew up a proper little brainwashed Communist.

"I wore the badge, the red tie!" and Talichkin's happiest childhood memories are of summer trips to the Black Sea, a 2,000km, day-and-a-half journey.

The Soviet Union collapsed "in my mid-teens" and by then Talichkin knew that art would be his life. His talent had been spotted early; from age seven, he attended extra classes at a special art school and later at Precarpathian University.

Aged 20, he begged his parents for a one-way ticket to "anywhere with a coastline". Arriving in Ireland, Enya and James Joyce his only reference points, what does he remember? "It's a bit fuzzy. I had a gin and tonic too many on the plane."

Staying with a host family on Ballymun Road, he went to a language school while he immersed himself in life, working as a kitchen porter and as a barman. Now he waits tables, in fluent English, three evenings a week, in a trendy restaurant.

Though growing up atheist, his fields, forests, water, skies and seascapes capture something spiritual.

"I don't believe in church but I do believe in what the Catholic Church calls the Holy Spirit and the energy in every single living thing." He meditates, uses the Headspace app, doesn't do negative.

New work, called Yugen, "a Japanese word meaning mysterious, don't pin it down, accept the mystery," will open at The Doorway Gallery next October.

Now an Irish citizen, he loves Irish humour, "Irish people are rough diamonds" - and how we live in the moment. Even Irish weather. "In Ukraine there are four seasons; here, it's steady, with subtle changes."

His favourite walk on Killiney Hill inspired this cityscape. Included in this year's RHA annual show, Nightshade turns sodium-lit Dublin into a jewelled casket. Though sky blue is his favourite colour, this is Dublin glowing in the dark, clouds beautifully underlit.

And photograph versus painting? "Painting adds depth and mystery". Dawn approaches. All those people, from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, sleeping, dreaming, sky blue dreaming?

Nightshade at the RHA Annual Show until August 12

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