A S Hamilton
MAYA KULENOVIC: WAKE (2005)
A host of terms spring to mind to describe the art of Maya Kulenovic: foreboding, hesitant, enigmatic, striking, offensive and illuminating. Her work is not intended to be comfortable, nor is there any effort spent on the easy or obvious; the artist’s mission speaks without pretense and states plainly, presenting us questions as yet unresolved.
Grave and sincere, Kulenovic renders a series of characters from the extant world, in the portraits of both persons and places, offering a range of emotion and suggestion upon which to contemplate. As an interpreter of the subliminal, she offers less a statement than a journey into states of thought, a windswept plain immobile and ancient, the expression carried in a face of experience, the victory of years over monument, the forest reluctant to reveal its depths.
The influences are obvious and unapologetic, as much as they are celebratory and declarative; a sequence and interplay of the past, the states of the present and the expectations of the future. Here, the Pantheist lands of Turner and Friedrich are re-negotiated; filled with comment on abandonment, on fragility, and on the limits to our assumptions of resource and sustainable habitation. The voice is never above a whisper, but the gravity is given special standing.
Exploring the human nest, the patterns in which we interact and the states in which we accidentally exist, Kulenovic renders peripheral memories, glimpses of faces without gender in the moment of recognition before reaction – geographies shedding the burden of the human footprint.
Kulenovic’s animals are utterly defeated and wrought of anima, as lifeless as torn rag ; the comment is not strictly or principally on animal rights, but on hypocrisy, the dreadful loss of grace from life to lifelessness and the illusion of triumph. Continuing the conversation between our relationship to our environment and the choices we make individually and collectively.
Working in translucent washes and a fragile balance of unnamable colors, struggling light and advancing shadow, the work emerges to a resonant state of permanent indecision. The sensation elected from this work is genuine; positive or negative, it often only serves to amplify that which the viewer brings to it. The results of the past cast a shadow across the future, and between the two we find a penumbra of query and intense consideration.