Aleš Lamr – The Hunts Starts with Eyes

Exhibition of the works by Aleš Lamr from the recent period 

Held by Gallery Miroslav Kubík and Smetana's Litomyšl, o.p.s.

Gallery Miroslav Kubík, Smetanovo nám. 71, Litomyšl, 

11th June - 31st July 2011

curator Richard Drury

Opening on 11th June at 2 p.m.

open throughout the Smetana's Litomyšl Festival daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on other days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At the time when one can claim that the current artistic expression turns away from the historic task of a mediator of the humanistic mission towards depersonalized social analysis and criticality, the works by Aleš Lamr prove the permanent ability of a „traditional" painting to address today's viewers. The core of Lamr's symbolism lies in the person - the age-long but still new being, one and only in its specific life, but closely interconnected with the mankind in looking for the meaning of things in oneself and around itself. Despite various transformations that can be followed in Lamr's works from the first half of the 1960's , when the artist entered the Czech artistic stage, his unfailing interest in symbolic portraying of humanity is obvious, both in the legible aspects of cheerfulness, humour and playfulness, and at the more covert level of serious spiritual reflections. 

The first mature works by Aleš Lamr created around the first half of the 1960's deal systematically with the archetypical depictions of a human body. The influence of classic modern style inspired by non-European „primitive" arts is obvious , as is the legacy of surrealism and its fanciful visions based on „intuitive reality" of a dream. A major breakthrough took place in the second half of the 1960's, when Lamr was deeply affected by Pop art. Rapid release of colour and shape followed and during a short period of time it gathered the unmistakable visual speech built upon a dynamic harmony of simplified structures and bright colouring procedure. Although Lamr's pictures from the turn of the 1970's find a common speech with comic strips irony of Roy Lichtenstein and expressive figural deformation by Allen Jones, starting from the 1970's one can trace typical features of the „domestic" Czech grotesque where the grim absurdity of living in a totalitarian society is metaphorically reflected in the grotesque „non-reality" of the image. Even the most banal motif from day-to-day life is transformed by Lamr into a plastic vision filled with unsurpassable vitality. Despite the fact that the painter's imagination over the last twenty years seemingly addresses the level of „pure" abstraction, human spirit is always immediately present in its emotional charge. 

The miracle of creation is reflected by Lamr in the metaphorics of „magic geometry"; it is often symbolized by, for example, a spiral shape recalling a rotating galaxy or a whirl of water. Structure of intricate lines, sometimes similar to lianas, sometimes taking the shape of a human raster, may be perceived as an expression of a flow and mutual crossing of energy in the nature and human psyche. In the last years, the figures in the painter's pictures also (virtually) emerged in the form of a „synchronised swimmer" buoying up joyfully in the notional „fluid" of all-embracing existence.

The new cycle introduced by Aleš Lamr in Litomyšl applies the painting method of splashing acrylic paints on the canvas. The painter's dynamism finds here its ultimate form as a pure record of the movement of hand and subsequent encounter of the colour mass with the painting surface. Explosive expressive shapes are created, party governed by the painter's intentions, but also significantly unpredictable. In some places they may remind of lizards, but their symbolic reading is first and foremost a challenge for the viewer's own imagination. Lamr's famous colourfulness in these paintings accelerates to extremity; we observe strange optical vibrations or oscillations caused by sharp colour contrasts augmented by "bristly" outlines of the shapes. Another important element of this cycle is the way the painter fits smaller canvases into conceptual units. What thus comes into play is the principle of modularity, the original phenomenon of the nature and human civilisation. 

Aleš Lamr is an artist with a firm belief. He is deeply convinced about the positive value of human life. His rainbow palette speaks to us about resilience to keep on the „way towards light" in all aspects. It perfectly fulfils the expression by Max Ernst that a painting should always be about „inventing, discovering, revealing". (Richard Drury) 

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