By: Sam Hunter
The artist ‘s style and imagery emerged not from lush woodland but from the profound deprivation of post World War II Soviet-dominated Ukraine, and imagination fed by a rich mix of sources. Born in 1964 in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Skrypka grew up in a family of artists. His father, Anatoliy was part of an artistic movement that emerged in the “sixties,” during a period of relative warmth in political relations with the Soviet Union, and his mother, Ludmyla, is a designer. From his earliest days, he showed the talent that might have been expected; he studied at the Zaporizhzhia Art School, and then progressed to Dnipropetrowsk College of Art and the highly regarded Kyic Academy of the Arts.
His 1992 degree, with diploma in the field of monumental paintings, assured his position in the current mainstream of his adopted Western culture, but rather in his Ukrainian past, with the repression brought by Russia’s seventeenth-century Europe. An earlier generation of Ukrainian artists had emigrated to Paris after the loss if the Ukrainian independence and the Bolshevik takeover of 1918 to 1920, among them Alexander Archipenko, Sonia Delaney, Kasimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin and other vanguard luminaries whom Skrypka still cites as admired forbears.
What counts in Skrypka’s art is not simply his subtly accented exotica, or even the haunting psychological impact and distorting visual reality of his forms, even as his polished technique enhances their surface beauty. Most impressive is his synthesis of apparently random and disjunctive contexts. In the artist’s hands improbably and delightfully, a creature inhabiting the ruddy, gilded atmosphere of ‘Mechanical Bird’ is poised for a moment and then disappears from view, as if we are experiencing a universal humanistic dream.