War and Fashion

The concepts of war and fashion are seemingly disparate but in Andriy Halashyn’s oil paintings at SALT Fine Art in Laguna Beach soldiers and fashion models seamlessly co-exist on one canvas. In the aptly named War and Fashion series Halashyn cleverly fuses the imagery of combat and vogue into a single scene. The two are merged so naturally the deceptively cheery paintings create tension as the viewer tries to reconcile how the two can exist together. And yet, they do.

Speed 35

Living in the United States, we are in a country with the largest military expenditure and arsenal in the world, at the same time image-conscious Americans are leaders in consumerism, and we are solicited to spend more as we try to pull ourselves out of a recession. As a result, both war and fashion co-exist as part of our everyday lives. “Everything is going on in one plane”, explains Carla Arzente, owner of SALT. Halashyn takes on the challenge of depicting both simultaneously rendering soldiers and models that not only co-exist, but are oblivious to each other.

Hungry Fashion

Hungry Fashion is a particular favorite for this message. One brightly dressed emaciated model drags another across the floor as soldiers line up to receive food. In addition to the obvious discourse of extra-thin models, what is intriguing is the fashion image is the violent one giving pause as to what modeling images are trying to convey and the underlying effects. Or as Arzente summarizes, “they are messing up heads on both fronts”.

SALT owner Carla Arzente

Arzente states Halashyn’s work is distinctive in both “ the execution and concept”. Figures are realistically rendered as magazine or press images and arranged against a vivid backdrop textured with thick brushstrokes and paint drippings, bringing the pieces firmly into the contemporary realm. Andriy Halashyn has a bicultural background, born in the Ukraine and living and working in Costa Rica and his Latin influence is evident in the color palette: vibrant orange or blue backgrounds with isolated objects rendered in turquoise, fuschia or green. The paintings are deceivingly cheerful while delivering a solid commentary on society.

Game Over

In Game Over, it’s the expressions that provide contrast. The  models sport detached expressions staring past the viewer while the soldiers rushing towards a medevac are fully engaged.

The associations with society are numerous, whether it is living in the county of South Coast Plaza and Real Housewives while America continues to fight wars on multiple fronts, or an election year that brings the economy, military spending and American consumers to the forefront. Halashyn’s War and Fashion series promotes discussion and reflection, and like fashion, its also pretty to look at.

Andriy Halyshins work can be seen through April 30 at SALT Fine Art:1492 South Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, open daily 11-6PM

 

Comments
3 Responses to “War and Fashion”
  1. Tania says:

    LOVED IT!!!Both very powerful and very relevant.

    • Tony Page says:

      There’s also a nice juxtaposition of the vintage elements (’60’s military shots, old bikes, etc.) and the contemporary style. To me it speaks to the timeless subject of how soldiers and combat are always somewhat alien to society.

  2. Wendy says:

    Natasha,
    What an extremely interesting perspective! You have done a great job of articulating the ironic contrasts.

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