The work of artist Victor Koulbak can be described as elegant observations inspired by the art of the past—Leonardo da Vinci and Hans Holbein come to mind. His work conveys a sense of austerity and rigor in its perfectionism. Each figure, whether human or animal, has been hermetically rendered onto the paper or canvas for the eternal gaze of the viewer. Using the artist’s tools of line, tone, and color, Koulbak effortlessly captures, with complete certainty, the unique and most illuminating traits that define his subjects. These are masterful works, revealing the artist’s clarity of vision, technical brilliance, and exactitude of expression.
Much of the work included in this exhibition is drawing, and Koulbak is a compelling draftsman using the early Renaissance technique of silverpoint. This entails drawing with a silver stylus on a gessoed surface with the resulting line actually being the oxidized metal. His silverpoint drawings seem to all but evaporate off the page, though those enhanced with a wash of watercolor magically solidify. The muted tonal range of these touches of watercolor is also apparent in his portraits in oil. His choice of color does not so much define or describe, as it further articulates the ethereal nature of each subject.
Victor Koulbak currently lives in Malta, but was born and educated in Moscow, Russia. Since 1975, his work has been featured in exhibitions in Tokyo, London, Savannah, and New York. We are grateful to Alan Salz and Nancy Druckman at Didier Aaron Gallery, New York, for providing JCSM the opportunity to bring this exhibition to Auburn.