"High water"– the image of a sleeping girl – a painting, for which the eldest daughter of the artist posed, also reminds of Venice. It is unusual for the image of a sleeping person to have a vertical composition, reinforced by a series of wavy lines. The composition is interesting as it can be examined from both above and below, or from the face of the sleeping girl, following the passage of the swallow and wavy lines going down, or from below – following the same lines and going up with the swallows across the pillow, like going up the stairs to the tranquil sleep of a serene face. The picture brings many cultural associations– from Klimt, with his vertical format and rave of gold (but there's no rave here), to the Japanese motives of irises, delivered through the decorative style of Art Nouveau. The same Gaultier is good enough here with his poem:
Oysters pour a pearly hoarding
Their enrapturing throats to gem,
And the wave, its wealth according,
Tosses other pearls to them.
and, of course, Osip Mandelstam with his swallows – their Stygian tenderness and night song, sung in a sleepy unconsciousness.
Talking about Japanese art, it is worth mentioning an interesting feature of Remnev: not only he shares the Japanese favorite motives like irises, fish or dragonflies, but also – more interestingly – a way of presentation, similar to the classic Japanese prints. These are frontal images over which the folds of the clothes on which they are embroidered or painted, and the angles have no control (except for "High Water", see, for example "Siesta" or "Habitat").
Overall, it can be said that there are a lot of cultural references – Venice, Delft, provincial Russian towns and Japanese motives seen through Art Nouveau – that serve as an addition to the personal artistic style of Andrei Remnev, that can be easily recognized. And it is based not on references to art of the past, but on personal mastery and skill, developed over the years. It combines the mastery of accurate glazing and broad compositional terseness, the stately calmness of characters, and the hardly discernible at the first glance but talling details of the second plan..
Remnev's chosen path in art is a path of an escapist – a passeist and a stylizer. His language and technique deliberately draw their poetics from the past, but talk about the eternal – and therefore the contemporary.