In Sad’s search for a manifestation of Ukrainian national identity he found inspiration in folk craftsmanship of wood carving and Easter egg painting. The colour palette of the pictures evokes the Ukrainian tradition of weaving and embroidery. Sad creates several layers of an image, like a carpet-weaver working with numerous colourful threads. Traditional symbols of Ukraine, such as for instance Ukrainian doll of ‘lyalka-motanka’ with archetypical crosses covering doll’s’ face and typical for embroidering, unconsciously appear on Sad’s pictures, projecting folk traditions on canvas. The works by Sad are philosophically deep and at the same time fragile as a lacework. The artist juxtaposes serenity of his works to jerky, thickly-spread dots of pure energetic colour.
Sad transfers the metaphysics of his meditations through the media of the modern world, juggling bright colours and delicate brush strokes with the weight of wood, carton, canvas and metal to reflect the dualism of the human spirit – all that is hopeful, light and tender in the human experience is inextricably linked to all that is dark, destructive and violent. He has found the ideal medium to convey these sombre emotions in the shape of torn and punctured metal.
Sad’s metalwork shows the violence of the calamitous end of the Soviet Union; a sheet of metal is punched through as if by the radioactive particles from Chernobyl (1986); the piercing of the Opening Iron Curtain work (1990) has a bloody-red background; the rusting metal ugliness of the Decommissioning of Soviet Union (1991-2011) recalls decommissioned Soviet industries, no longer world-leading.
Yet Sad’s metalwork, as ever, radiates subtlety and spirituality. At one level, punctured metal records the pain of a collapsing nation; on another, it suggests the beauty of red rose buds, emerging against a metal-green landscape. Both visions compete inside the head of the viewer, but the question of which vision triumphs is left to be answered by each viewer.