Thursday, August 16, 2007

Miroslav Antic :: Untitled (Palazzo Series), 2001

From the Creiger-Dane Gallery:

“Known for work of exceptional visual and conceptual intricacies, Miroslav Antic’s current work continues to seduce his viewers into an unconscious dialogue about the nature of painting.

In Antic’s current series, super-realist raindrops lay lightly spattered over interior views of famous European palaces. Antic spares no detail in painting the spacious and luxurious rooms, complete with vast archways, columns, winding staircases, statues and fine architectural detailing. Employing his incredible skill with paint, Antic depicts breathtakingly beautiful scenes that have immense spatial depth, as well as a subtle sense of light and stillness. Antic is able to impart these paintings with an air of mystery and times long past, as they seem to exist in quiet perfection with nothing out of place and nobody in sight.

Antic paints in numerous and varied layers, which serve to obscure and somewhat mask these far distant views, forcing the viewer to visually and emotionally search his works. One tries desperately to see clearly what literally recedes into the picture plane, as well as metaphorically into the past. Illusion and beauty, mainstays in the tradition of painting, play a vital role in Antic's work. But choosing not to rely on these attributes alone, Antic instead employs these skills to lure the viewer into searching his work for insight into the nature of painting. While realistic and skilled, the works are also abstracted and obscured; they contain a great deal of illusory space, and yet have raindrops painted on top which reinforces the flat picture plane; although imparting a wonderful sense of light, the works are mostly monochromatic. Always beautiful and skilled, Antic's work nonetheless holds even greater rewards beyond the purely aesthetic for those willing to question.” […]

“Miroslav Antic’s newest work is a beautiful culmination of themes and thought processes that have concerned him for some time. In the broadest sense, Antic teases the viewer to share in a dialogue he engages in, that between the traditional depiction of deep space and the modernist achievement of flatness. Antic paints breathtaking images of Old World beauty, distant mysterious figures caught in eerie monochromatic darkness. He then paints over them a layer of water drops, like rain that is collected on a window during a stormy night. The effect is multi-fold- Antic technically re-enforces the flat picture plane, as well as conceptually distances and bars us from his illusions of beauty.

Antic’s work is evidence of his persistent struggle with the concept of beauty in an age when minimalism and conceptualism threaten to denigrate such an ideal to begin outmoded and conservative; or conversely, when the tendency to nostalgia threatens to make beauty merely sentimental and sweet. Miroslav Antic is able to walk a fine line between both views, drawing the viewer into a gorgeously crafted dialogue between the past and the present, what is real and what is fake, what is valid in the tradition of art and what is not.”