"Found a gold vein" (scientific term)



'' V I K A R ''

               25 years ago me, at that time a research worker in the field of Nuclear Physics, I took a great interest in Laying Pictures in Wood ( Marquetry ). Feeling strength in this new matter I decided to go in for creative activities. The new path in Arts gave the opportunity to accomplish scenic pictorial Panels in Mosaic. Love and fanaticism for wood made me give up the Physics and fully devote myself to the Art. A Physicist became a kind of '' Lyricist ''. The opportunity to portray a human image living extreme circumstances of life ( MOST COMPLICATED TASK IN ARTS ), bright eyes, cheerful spirits - and all this in wood - let me come into contact with most rich historical material of longsuffering Russia. The Cycle I have given birth to, consisting of 4 Pictures, is my Creative Order before God, before Mankind.
               My duty according to my conscience is to create, to put pieces together continuously. For a human age very short. There were no material temptations that happened to attract me during these 25 years.


Collection wood mosaic.


               Our era is the era of manual labor elimination by mechanization and automatization. Computer graphics proliferate.  But no automaton can express human spirit  in  wood. Only titanic labor of an individual can.
               What do I offer?  I offer the product of the 25-years piece to piece painstaking labor. No exhibits. No sale. No orders. One goal!  Cartitude!  Fanatism!  Paintings in wood! No artist can doom himself to this.
               My wood paintings are made to be unrepeatable; they unique in the world FOR ALL TIMES. What is they price. Time will give the answer. May be in 100 or 200 years they will be the most expensive on the globe. They do not need to be signed. They are recognizable by themselves. My last painting in wood  '' Time out '' created for 9 years in three states is finished just now.
               Now my bell rings.  This is my hour.  I am selling my full collection of wood mosaic, everything I made ( 37 items:  4 big thematic painting , 31 portraits, the ritual armchair for a synagoge (patent my # 20409), 5 abstract painting), to one person, a connoisseur, to be kept in one place.
               Museums and private collectors are looking to have a full collections of a well known or not so well known author. One of the reasons is that the items gathered in a full collection have much more value than separate ones. The goal of my creative work from the start was - everything to only one's hands. I bear the responsibility for my words. This is a serious material for a museum or a private collection. It is a rare occasion when an author collects his works through his life selling nothing. This is why it is a good opportunity for investment.

V I K A R   (VALERY KARASEV)                              

2008 Canada

1. Vikar 50cm x 65cm; 1980;
2. Elina Bystritskaya (people's artist); 45cm x 68cm; 1980;
3. Sashka ; 48cm x 72cm; 1980;
4. Donna Summer ( American singer ); 48cm x 72cm; 1982;
5. "Tenderness"; 47cm x 72cm; 1982;
6. Tigka; 45cm x 65cm; 1981;
7. Liora; 47cm x 72cm; 1992;
8. "Morning going away"; 135cm x 64cm; 1982;
9. Old Ledy;45cm x 65cm; 1981;
10. Vikar 2;90cm x 110cm; 2005;

" G R I E F   O F   R U S S I A "

S  E  R  I  A  L

               Russia!  Country of great sorrom, corrupted and destroyed by the history, plentiful of grief.  This is a tragic but rich theme for the world's descriptive art.
               The  200  last years are reflected in a serial of my pictures under the general title '' The grief of Russia ''. This serial includes the  6  most important events in the history of Russia.

'' R E B E L S ''


               The mass unrests were constantly shaking Russia.  The national heroes Ivan Bolotnikov, Stephan Razine,
Emelian Putative entered into the country ' s  history.  Illiterate, not knowing any military art, unarmed, those rebels were
doomed to failure. The rebel spirit, desire for liberty agitated Russia again and again.
               The picture '' Rebels '' shows an unshakable faith in their right cause.

6, 8 m  x  2, 1 m;           260 kg;           1990;          / Fulfillment  -  4 years /.


" B O R O D I N O "

               On August  25  ( September  6,  new style ), 1812 a battle, unprecedented by its power and the number
of the people involved took place near the Borodino village. French army under commandment of Napoleon clashed with
Russian army of field marshal Kutuzov. The battle finished late at night.  It was no any conqueror, but it were hundreds
and thousands of dead and injured people.
               The picture " Borodino " shows the second attack of the French army at the key height of Kourgannaya ( Raevsky's battery ) at 15:30 P.M.. The Russian soldier's heroism and courage is a main factor in this battle.

4, 7 m  x  2, 14 m;           180 kg;          1987;             \ Fulfillment  -  3 years \

" T I M E     O U T "

               In  1936  in  Leningrad  the  " chekists "  ( employees  of  Extraordinary  Commission ) buried alive  40  priests
with theirs families in the St.  Xenia  Church. During the Stalin's repressions it was the way to fight the religion.
               The picture " Time  out " presents a moment of rest of the soviet workers. Their shovels are droved into ground,
and they are resting after a hard work.
               We see a half-dead people left to suffer in the common grave.  The animal indifference to the victims of despotism
creates and reinforces a terrifying impression from the picture.

8, 9 m  x  3, 0 m;       270 kg;       2000;        \ Fulfillment  -  10 years \


 1941  -   1945

               During the World  War  II  ( 1941 - 1945 )  many families received letters about their sons, daughters, fathers, and husbands missing, whose fate is still unknown today.
               On the picture " Reported  missing "  we can see the fate of some missing persons.  It seems that the author opens the time curtain slightly. We see the courage and unshakable will-power on the faces of dying people.

5, 6 m  x  2, 0 m;         240 kg;          1985;            \ Fulfillment  - 4 years \

1. "Fate", fragment from "Time out"; 1994;
2. "Rabbi from Lyubavichi"; 162cm x 103cm; 2000;
3. Ritual armchair; 185cm x 110cm x 160cm; 1992; /Patent ¹ 20409, State of Israel Ierusalem, 17.08.93;/
4. Emblem from historic aria "Grief of Russia ";110cm x 75cm; 1990;


Historical information

               1. Marquetry (wooden mosaic) exists three centuries already. The ancient wooden incrustation was largely replaced by Marquetry then the machine for veneer sheet making was invented. The beautiful furniture in Baroque style was decorated by Marquetry. It was the main purpose of the new style.
               2. In the course of time, Baroque style was replaced by Classicism. Magnificent forms have disappeared; the strictness of lines was in fashion. Marquetry has lost its basic purpose and has reincarnated in various panels and souvenirs. In souvenir shops where mosaic products were on sale in the big quantities. Some artists sometimes make nowadays the complex panels of the big sizes.
               3. With disappearance of manual skills in manufacture the individuality and originality of mosaic products were lost. With computer drawing an automatic device assembles a mosaic in unlimited quantities. In that case a person acts as an observer.
               4. In wooden mosaic the texture of wood expresses a plan of an artist. If sky is necessary – a piece of cloudy poplar is suitable. The light nut with a ridged crumb is suitable for a sea. Add a silhouette of a boat, a couple of seagulls and a sea landscape is ready.
               5. The preservation of wood’s texture is the basic principle of Marquetry. Artist should closely examine a texture in hope to see something original. Fantasy must be linked to wood’s structure – it is the basis of Marquetry mosaic. It can be done only by artist; no computer can catch such the subtleties.
               6. Woodcarving is made by an ordinary shoe knife, made of high quality steel. This is a big work that takes a lot of time. The cut of a knife should be extremely equal, the joint of the details should be more thin than hair, that is largely depends on the skills of an artist as a carver.
               7. During the last century the interest to Marquetry grew several times. During postwar restoration of Petergof in Russia, where were a lot of wooden mosaic masterpieces, the interest to Marquetry has increased significantly. Later, the mosaic souvenirs were in fashion. The next spike was the portrait technique, mostly political leaders and outstanding people. But the last decade has drawn the finishing line for the centuries-old technique by automatic production. Nowadays, the hard job of Marquetry artist rarely attracts somebody. There are only unique fans, unknown to general public.
               8. The technique of Marquetry has never pursued the depicting of the smallest details. The style of performance reminds the posters of Revolution’s time, it is a contrast transition from dark to light. The well known portraits of Esenin and Mayakovsky look like made of two joined pieces – black and white. In other composition it is combined with stylization that is a simplified form of performance.

What is “Jivorez”?

              “Jivorez” is my terminology in art what should have an official status. In art an artist depicts his idea by painting. Everything may be depicted by painting space, war, nature. It doesn’t demand any physical efforts and is studied constantly in the art schools. The technique of Marquetry has got rid itself long time ago because of its limitation. It was never been studied in art schools. Marquetry artist is rather similar to a handicrafts-man than to an artist. How many reproaches I have heard because of concerning the change of the Marquetry style. I was blamed that I crush a uniform monolith of wood’s texture. Do as everybody does and do not invent nothing. But how I will find in a wood’s texture a ready car, for example? My innovation was absolutely in small – I have introduced a semitone in mosaic. It means the eternal contrast between dark and light parts of mosaic I smoothed by semitones-transitions. It had striking effect but the amount of work has increased tremendously. In Marquetry a stylized portrait is made by 10-20 big details. But the portrait, made by my technique, consist of about thousand small pieces. The skill to use wood’s structure for the small objects (a pupil, a button, a petal of rose) allows to depict everything. A couple of hundred of small parts I may assemble as a car or as a kitten. And, at last, every possible battles and historical events can be depicted by millimeter wooden pictures. Actually, I reached the potentialities of oil painting.

That doesn’t see general public

               Radiant or sad human eyes… made of wood! Alive, with teardrop! To depict it is a dream of Marquetry artist. What can be more difficult in art than the human eyes expression? The eyes are the main feature of my pictures: love and hatred, tenderness and anxiety, expectation and death – all of that is in eyes of my characters. I am the artist of psychologically extreme conditions. The edge between life and death – that I am looking for. Wildness or calmness, fear or heroism. The extreme condition of a man is possible only in extreme circumstances. History of every country is full such historical situations, including history of Russia. And I feel comfortable in this topic. General public is convinced that I depict only Russian theme and it is interesting only for Russians, not for Europeans or North Americans. But the most interesting thing is the uniqueness of the eyes, made of wood, not Russian history. Russian history is actually a background for these eyes. And these eyes are the main point, giving art value to Marquetry. To be exact I am the first Marquetry artist making not panels but the pictures. All my pictures are unique, cannot be copied. I don’t need a signature. My pictures can be identified everywhere. But all my mosaic pictures are based on drawing. Perfectly knowing a human face anatomy I make preliminary drawing on paper, working until I finish the smallest details. As a result, an expressive image with alive human eyes is created. Other parts of a picture demand only technical work and time. In my 25-years art experience a drawing was the most important thing. To make big human image in half-transparent fog – it is the top of artistic creation! Or scrupulous technique of nun’s portrait, there some details are measured in millimeters. I will never make anything better. There is a question: how can I substitute painting by wood? First, I am ready to try everything new. Second, the wood of poplar, nut, beech, mahogany, ash-tree is very rich of colors and tints. Sometimes it is difficult to image how to show hairs or clothes fold, but carefully selected piece of veneer sheet will easily solve the problem. Warm color of wood of any size looks calmly. Things, painted artificially, wood structure express naturally. During 25 years of my art life I never was interested in sale of my pictures. My aim was to create a collection that may be exhibited in one museum. My works, being not separated, complement one another in my unusual genre. I don’t have any competitors, my collection is unique and its price must reflect it.

Valery Karasev
Mail: vikar@newmail.ru