The Sparks Museum & Cultural Center is proud to present the work of Valeriy Kagounkin, on display from March 30 to May 13. An artists’ reception with food and refreshments will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. April 7. The exhibit is free to view, and a portion of painting sales benefits the Sparks Museum.
Valeriy Kagounkin was born in the Chuvash Republic of Russia in 1959. He works predominantly in the medium of paint. Valeriy attended Children’s Art School in Siberia, and later graduated from Krasnoyarsk Junior Art College with honors. He was accepted to the Moscow Academy of Art of V. Surikov in 1982. After graduating, he returned to Krasnoyarsk, Siberia to teach fine art at the Junior Art Academy.
Kagounkin was awarded the United Nations Silver Medal #193 in 2012 for a body of work on Siberia Pre-revolution. In 2013 and 2014, he was awarded the Big Gold Medal from the Russian Academy of Arts. In 2014, Kagounkin became a permanent member of the Russian Academy of Arts — established in 1775.
In the U.S., he has won the Phippen Family Award from the Phippen Museum, 2015, The Art of the West Award at the Phippen Museum Show, 2015, Best Acrylic at the Old West Museum Show in Cheyenne, WY, 2015, and People’s Choice Award, Cattlemen’s Art Show 2016. “Rider, Pony Express” sold at The Russell Event Auction 2016.
Kagounkin’s works hang in the Contemporary Museum of Moscow, and the Historian Museum of Siberia, as well as private collections all over the world. Today, Kagounkin’s paintings concentrate on his people, the indigenous natives of Russia and Siberia and their North American counterpart, the Native American, as well as others who built the American West.
Kagounkin cites the great Russian artists of the 19th century – Fechin, Ripin, Kromskoy, Makovsky and Arhipov – as the biggest influences on his career because of their work in depicting the common people. He also finds inspiration from Remington and Russell for their authentic detail in depicting the American West and the people who populated it.
“In my work I want to show the simple, everyday life of the common person; someone who is not normally in the spot light,” Kagounkin said. “These people are very interesting in their own right. In their faces and poses they show real life: love for family and friends, care of the land and animals, as well as human struggles and pain.
“With my paintings, I want to show the modern viewer the power these people had in shaping the country we live in today,” he continued. “I want to make incredible paintings that will touch the American heart and inspire the modern viewer.”
The Sparks Museum & Cultural Center is located at 814 Victorian Ave., on the corner of Pyramid Way, just off Interstate-80. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, visit sparksmuseum.org or call 775-355-1144.