Mykolas Paškevičius

Mykolas Paškevičius was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1907. In 1914 his family moved to Belarus and settled in Vitebsk where he was enrolled in primary school. In 1922 he began studying at the Vitebsk Art School. At that time, the famous artist, Kazimir Malevich, was his teacher, and also V. Volkov, and T. Ende. Upon graduation he was accepted by the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Academy of Art and studied under such noteworthy artists as A. Rylov and Petrov-Vodkin. having finished his studies at the Academy, he returned to Minsk, capitol of Belarus, where he worked independently as an artist, joined the local Art League, and had his work exhibited in Moscow's Tretiakov Gallery.

When the Germans occupied Minsk at the beginning of WW II Paškevičius succeeded to escape to Kaunas, Lithuania, where for a few years he was able to participate peacefully in the artistic life of the city. In 1944, he fled the war again and arrived in Bavaria where he and his family were given shelter by the Americans in a Displaced Persons' Camp. In 1949 he emigrated to the USA.

Mykolas Paškevičius works mostly in acrylics, painting portraits and motifs found in nature. His style is expressionistic, stressing the movements of line and color, thus giving strength and individuality to his subjects. The delicacy and the spontaneity of the brush strokes, the sparing use of vivid color, the limited amount of abstraction in his narrative are the trademarks of this poetic painter.

In Paškevičius' viewpoint, the universality of a work of art consists in the universality of the purest elements of artistic expression, or, as Paškevičius puts it, in the perfection of form and in the rest of the esthetic ingredients that go by that name. Using these means in a highly-polished manner, Paškevičius aims at exploring the "inner" soul of the objects he is fond of painting.

There is strength in this conglomeration of lines and shapes. The subject of the painting is built up out of the multitudinous individual compositional elements, which give the impression that they are the ones which take precedence over everything else in the picture. From these elements emerge a human face, a figure, a portrait, a galloping horse, a scene of the crucifixion, making a powerful and unforgettable impression. Untold pain cripples the entire body of the Crucified. There is unfathomed suffering in the embrace of the two figures standing by the cross, and absolute command in the pianist's face and hands as he concentrates on the keyboard. And what an outburst of energy and grace for those galloping horses! There is not a single straight line in these drawings that would delineate the figures in a more urbane manner. The lines are not even properly "connected", only hinted at. But they are placed in strategic points, so that there is room for the viewer's imagination to roam.