Figure skaters II (Russia Series)


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This painting, inspired from a 1964 cover of the Soviet weekly, Ogonek (Little Flame), started out as a careful rendering of the dancing pair, who seemed to me to constitute a stunning combination of grace, strength and athleticism, all physical attributes highly valued in the Soviet Union, where there was a cult of physical fitness. I was attracted to the expressions on the faces of the two skaters, both entirely absorbed in their joyful activity. The more I worked on the painting, the more I tried to capture the movement and explosive nature of the activity and the more I began to feel the pent-up frustrations of Soviet citizens as they struggled in the daily lives to freely express themselves. This almost abstract painting is what came out in the end.


John Murray




Acrylic on Linen


100cm x 100cm