A Soul is a Compilation of Imaginary Parts.
Nestor Topchy's work identifies an aspect of modernity in which the limitation and aspiration of language to completely explain any artistic media who's germ originates outside of the genre of language, spoken or written, is demonstrated. In their entirety, the discernible principals in his work comprise an integral and whole system— only momentarily divisible by focusing attention upon one part or another, as follows; Pysanky (Ukrainian easter eggs), Demekon (painting, sculpture, and architecture predicated on geometry/abstraction), and Incarnation (the iconic corpus/portraits based upon iconographic materials and method.)
Topchy has spent years creating an ideal place for creating objects, building living environments where he can practice creativity as a means to an end. There is an "in-between-ness", a liminal space, threshold or juncture where understanding and certain objects vacillate and have mystery, it's a space one skips over in their mind in order to reconcile conditions that don't seem like they belong together, but it's in those gaps that things are most real, and it is in this valley where Topchy's work operates.
The portraits painted in the byzantine tradition create a portal through which the divine is reached. To paint a mortal in the sea of gold light, alone— is to propose a saintliness that dwells within all people. To paint any man is to paint God's face. In this sense, they are abstract because one cannot represent something which is beyond naturalistic understanding. They are abstract in their implication of the vast unknown far beyond what is capable of humanity in the present. Illustrating what does not appear to exist is proof enough. Buddhist kōans are intentionally paradoxical; "things are not as they seem, nor are they otherwise."
The portraits attempt, and fail, to represent the subject who is not always physically present when the painting is executed. A style of social realism achieved by default as a result of the materials (traditional methods of building transparent light out of the shadows) contradicts the dignity of the sitter. It may be impossible to achieve an image isolated from religion, philosophy, or culture; but perhaps not impossible to create a representation that exists as a signifier for what is more than human, if the miraculous can be common. The icon, which has been stripped of its meaning as an allegory, becomes common.
Even with a goal in mind and progress overlooked, tangential situations, revelations and discoveries within the creative process of working arise and are not mutually exclusive, rather by embracing the effort, with more than just mind, Topchy attempts to stay open not just to what the original intent was without delusions about authenticity, originality or agency, as often those are wrapped in the notion that there is a wider choice of worthy action, when in fact all have unique fingerprints and the consensus is not for us to completely determine our identity.
Topchy does not believe in a science which ignores what it cannot explain in its own terms, nor an art which no longer understands itself without self-awareness limited by what is currently relegated to faith. This polarity can be accessed only through transmission from the original, not via virtual reality/simulacrum. Events for contemplation are what Topchy seeks, rather than representations; the nexus between interior reality and natural observation and what exists in that juncture as an art/science proposition.