“Animalistic series” is a unique phenomenon and has no analogues in world art. Prymachenko’s works – for all their originality – have some similarity with folk pictures. But fantastic beasts are a work of the artist’s imagination.
Maria Prymachenko was born on January 12, 1909.
Prymachenko’s talent was discovered in 1936 by Tatiana Flora, a master weaver and embroiderer from Kyiv (in the 1960s and 1970s, a wide popularization of Prymachenko’s work was organized by journalist G. Mestchkin).
In 1934, the Central Experimental Workshops at the Kyiv Museum of Ukrainian Art (from 1936, the School of Folk Masters, and later the Art and Industry Workshop) were opened in Kyiv, collecting folk talents. In 1936 Maria Primachenko was invited to them. Anatoly Petritsky, Vasyl Krychevsky, Vasyl Kasiyan taught in the Workshops, Tetyana Pata, Paraska Vlasenko, Makar Mukha and dozens of other prominent creative figures studied. Her work became more diverse – Maria painted, embroidered, was fond of ceramics. The State Museum of Ukrainian Folk and Decorative Arts preserves her wonderful ceramic jugs and dishes of this period. How Gerasimenko, a recognized master of Ukrainian ceramics, willingly passed on Primachenko’s products of various shapes.
In 1936, at the First Republican Exhibition of Folk Art, Primachenko’s paintings were given a whole hall. The exhibition was seen by Moscow, Leningrad, Warsaw. Primachenko was awarded a first degree diploma for his participation. Since then, her works have been exhibited with constant success in Paris, Warsaw, Sofia, Montreal, and Prague. In 1937 the artist’s works were exhibited in Paris.
The sources of her work are in the wall paintings used everywhere in Ukraine – one of the oldest genres of world decorative art – and in the ornamental and song richness that entered the child’s mind with the lullaby of the mother, and surrounded her every day. Primachenko’s works show that behind them is a large, diverse school of folk art, centuries-old culture of the people. It’s like a bunch of emotional impressions from fairy tales, legends and life itself.
Maria Prymachenko did not like large clean planes, they seemed lifeless to her, so everywhere the background – earth, water, sky – is covered with rhythmic rows of small horizontal or vertical lines, parentheses, dots, light – in the sky (clouds), dark – on land and water. (grass, waves). This simple rhythmic alternation of different shapes and colors is repeated in every part of the letter, in every smallest detail. In all of Primachenko’s works there is this unchanging, calm, endless ornamental movement.
There were no “professional tricks” in her arsenal: she painted on ordinary Whatman with factory-made brushes, used gouache and watercolor. I preferred gouache, because it gives a juicy, dense decorative expressive spot with a clear silhouette. The artist first drew the line with a pencil, somehow carelessly, “childishly” determines the contours of the image, and only then confidently, deftly puts the color.
The Union press called the artist “Marusya Prymachenko, a young collective farm artist from sunny and joyful Ukraine,” leveling the real depth and duality of her paintings. Prymachenko in the inseparability of good from evil piercingly portrayed the era: at work in 1936 “Animal Court” a black monkey at the table writes a protocol, and two wolves are standing on tiptoe in front of her; in the picture of the 1930s, an elephant-like monster and a caption: “But the beast goes and dozes off, looking for food, then outfits are not on the mind, when you want to eat, you do not want anything.”
Maria Prymachenko died in 1997 in the village of Bolotnya, where she was born.