Brian Maguire © Rhona Hoffman Gallery Brian Maguire © Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Brian Maguire about Gulia Groenke’s oeuvre

“Like most of us, I have never been to Russia or indeed to the Soviet Union. The nearest I got was a day in East Berlin in the early 80’s. In those days and still today there is a tighter net drawn around the forbidden secret cities of the Soviet Military Complex. Gulia and her family came from such a town in the North of Russia. Yet through Gulia’s paintings, I get to go there. I see the men bathe in the lake by the shore notwithstanding the contamination. The coffins give us the context. This work of 2020 is titled Future Passing and should be read with the earlier work from 2019 Polluted Tides. The landscape format of Future Passing is repeated in different ways in Inflamed Spirit (2020), Paradise (2020) and Imminent Destruction (2021).

While drawn from memory each one contains a view of our future. The atmosphere of some of these works is just short of post-nuclear. The current dangers for the world in war are clear today. Gulia has drawn this threat in paint. It was Picasso, a hundred years ago, who claimed painting as a defense against war. In this lies the seriousness of these works. The two great overriding issues of our time – the natural environment and war are the conditions of the present. The works are drawn from her youth. The work challenges us to note, now, today where we are and asks in silence what we should do – Circle of Devastation (2022).

It has been my honor and privilege to watch the development of this powerful and beautiful exhibition over the past 3 years.”

Brian Maguire, is an Irish artist whose work is driven by the struggle against inequality and violence, and the pursuit of justice. Read more about the artist on Galleries Websites: Rhona Hoffman and Fergus McCaffrey

Gulia Groenke's Artworks

Circle of devastation

Circle of devastation

2022 | Acrylic and mixed media on canvas