Zdenko Krtić, MFA, BFA

Adjunct Professor, School of Industrial & Graphic Design


Artist's Statement

A work of art can provide context wider than human life, giving us solace and an expanded frame of reference. My recent smaller-scale paintings explore the immediacy of watercolor and gouache and mark my return to figurative painting that strives to be unlabored and executed in a quick and direct manner. My interest is on how my library of preexisting images “fix” various modes of temporal order including representations of space and people in it, and how this may validate the unconscious.  These works often start by quoting multiple sources and by juxtaposing various seemingly unrelated found images belonging to different time periods (and locales). Although triggered by examination of found and collected visual documents, and despite engagement with specific histories, politics, and identities, these are intended as purely atemporal works.

A painting could be seen as a document of collapsed time, ruminations on the past, but also a quest to understand the present; an exploration of the murkiness that lays between the present and the past as suggested by both W. Faulkner – “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – and W. Goethe’s assertion that “Happiness looks neither forward nor backward.”  This becomes an intuited search, led by emotional reasons and without premeditation. It is resolved only when the unforeseen has been discovered.  My studio process depends on this “waste and retrieval method” – recycling images, objects, places, histories that are forgotten or cast-off, but that still linger with potential. The idea is to re-examine them, and make them accessible once again, through the subjective lens of painting.  As Marlene Dumas reminds us, second-hand images can still generate first-hand emotions.

A lingering desire persists to illuminate uncanny, ambiguous, and sensory realities, where the initial observational rigor gives way to intuitive and imaginative appreciation – embracing both moments of clarity and moments of blurriness and enigma and accepting that we can never understand fully the past, nor can we predict future events. Just as the history wiggles and turns, and where nothing is ever really resolved, my process is a series of endless beginnings and repetitions, where you just exhale – one long sigh, and then move on to the next one.

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