#14 The Beginnings (1985-1989)
After graduation from the Academy of Fine Arts in Skopje Sergej was confronted with the challenges of surviving in real life and the necessity to prove himself as an artist. Moreover he was confronted with the challenges of learning to canonize his temperament, and get out of the shadow of the great professor Petar Mazev.
Temperament is difficult to tame, especially in a passionate artist like Sergej Andreevski. But one can learn to control and direct it. Macedonian culture does not tolerate deviation from preset patterns of the middle-class environment. Skipping ahead out of sequence from the norm is frowned upon. Because of this reality, Sergej’s exhibitions after graduation often left audiences confused and wondering. Sergej would explain by saying it was because of his temperament and his way of painting. “I am a painter that works a lot. I don’t miss a day without taking the brush in my hands. Nothing can prevent a really dedicated artist from painting.” The old generation would have to make way for the new generation of Macedonian painters.
#15 Leaving the shadow of Petar Mazev was not really a problem for Sergej. But he never tried to conceal his fascination with Mazev as a personality and a painter. He says “ It was only in contact with Mazev that my temperament became fully expressed because we are of the same nature.” But being of the same nature is where the similarity ends. Indeed Mazev was a teacher and a mentor and played an important role in releasing the temperament of his young colleague, but Sergej was his own man.
#16 The difference in Sergej’s work and that of Mazev is that the painting of Mazev is pain and that of Sergej is joy; Mazev decomposes, Sergej builds; Mazev is often a cruel and brutal pessimist, Sergej is an irretrievable optimist.
Ten solo exhibitions and participation in more than 25 group exhibitions in four years prepared Sergej for his ambitious exhibition at the Art Gallelry in Skopje. This exhibition was the culmination of everything he had done since graduation and can regarded as his first artistic period.
#17 This exhibition confirmed that Sergej Andreevski is a quality Expressionist who is on the cusp of becoming an exclusive colorist and an artist who spontaneously activates all the senses while in the act of painting. He focuses on the Man – the life – the emotions. This exhibition confirmed that Sergej is an artist who dives into life, into his own uneasiness and sensibility… a kind of “knightly romanticism”.
These paintings were already demonstrating the prominent features of his work today: expressive gesture stroke, strong and confident composition, and the bold use of color.
#18 He paid particular attention to expressive compositions of figures, couples and groups as well as portraits. With varying approaches he painted them as complete, partially deformed figures; partial figures; and expressive faces. In paintings like “Blue Darkening” and “People from Atlantis” the figures are monumental. But in works like “Painting in Green” the figure gradually dissolves, and is prolonged and stylized, focusing attention on the face. This will later become a dominant treatment of the figure for Sergej. As well as human figures, he used the figures of dogs, birds, cats and horses, explaining, “it is in me because I have seen it in my child hood, and now I’m only letting it out of me.”
Sergej’s use of color is the primary element in these paintings. Critics agree. “With the color Andreevski draws, he shapes the form and the hued sensations in the painting, but it has also the role of a means and an immediate conductor of inner anxiety.” That is, “the cruel fauvist hues have the dramatic force of the spiritual impulses.” The power and the feeling of his colors and their arrangement with abandon on the canvas makes an extraordinary impression on the viewer. His process of painting is totally in sync with his idea of what painting is.
These paintings are Sergej Andreevski’s manifesto of the ritual of painting as the supreme act of painting. Anything else is irrelevant to the painting. The act of painting is a magical event. His obsessive-ness begins with his confrontation with the whiteness of a blank canvas. He moves stroke after stroke to “see” the end of the painting. Then he begins a new one, and, like Sisyphus, he begins again.