Croatian(HR)English (United Kingdom)

About

Artistic wandering through introspection                          
 

Ivana Barišić Tomšić, an academic painter, is for the first time exhibiting
her works in the Gallery of Museum of Moslavina. About thirty oil, acrylic
and combined technique paintings are about to show the section of works
made in ten years' time in several theme cycles: Small paintings ( Male slike), Intro (Intro), The Theatre  (Kazalište), The Self-portrait (Autoportret), Cubes (Kocke), Trees and Birds ( Stabla i ptice), Thousands of Worlds ( Tisuće svjetova), The House in the Nature (Kuća u prirodi). Most of her cycles refer to artistic wanderings through introspection. Ivana showed her inital interest in introspection as a third- year student when she started working on on the  Small paintings cycle and  since that moment  introspection has been a part of her artistic work.


Ivana's world of existential anxiety, lonesome presence in the landscape and her own or human sillhouette refer to introspection. Her painting is expressive, it is  an alogical figuration of dreamy visions in shades of blue and green. Behind the seen lies the solitude of the real- the painting  The South (Jug). She paints transforming the artistic vision of dreams  into the presence of reality. Her paintings are not 'eye –catching', they seek caution and demanding reasoning. The famous modern-art expression can be applied to Ivana's art:  art is not to be looked at, it is to be thought about.


Her paintings are built in layers, systematically and prudently, but the spur comes from the subconsciousness. She sublimes the space and reduces it to the abstract autobiographical space as an important element of painting explication. Using the patchwork of colours over large surfaces  and applying the inner dynamics of wide expressive moves, she builds her stylized characters. Consequently, Breton's definition of surrealism can be applied to Ivana's painting:“ dictation of thoughts in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.“ This is why  art is presented as revelation, as a sudden, momentary and passionate desire to intuitively understand the world. The creating pulse of her imagination keeps beating.

Ivana's inner dynamics of  theme heterogenity is fascinating. Melancholy, another deep and human  characteristic turns out as inevitable feature of her painting. Temporarily painful, sometimes pensive and nostalgic state of mind, it is melancholy that determines the atmosphere of composition. Melancholy may lead an artist into  artistic sterility, but that is not the case with Ivana. She is inexhaustibly inventive and a great axample of emanation of paintings built from the depths of subconsciousness shs has found in Zlatko Keser's paintings. In the cycle Cubes ( Kockice) she has related to her Academy professor Keser. The triptych The Day (Dan) consists of rich painting structures: collage geometric surfaces, impasto moves with the spatula, azure moves and graffito technique. The green blood of pittoresque Moslavina landscape is the constant marker of her compositions . Green becomes a part of her unique ideogram. A man, a tree and a bird are Ivana's amblematic theme requisites. Surrealist timeless scenes and still atmospheres fill in the space of the painting. Her latest paintings from Thousands of worlds cycle show cleansed synthesis, cleared surface , reduced amount of colours and  almost disappearing figuration. The main condition to become the artist is to believe in yourself, to serve and not to compromise, and, undoubtly,  Ivana fulfills all three of them.

 Mladen Mitar



Birds and trees

Ivana Barišić Tomšić

The cycle of Ivana Barišić's paintings created in the last year is a series of variations of four basic motifs: a human figure, the empire of meadows, a naked tree and a bird.
Motifs present in Ivana's paintings represent for her the start of a game whose goal is to establish a coherent artistic unit told by luxurious language of art speech. It is obvious that the center of Ivana's focus is artistic, while all of above-mentioned motifs have a role of outside players which enable composition lines to score in full. Motifs subject their independence to the unity of the painting.
Figuration is steadily kept in the game, so created scenes suggest a wish that the painting, besides the speech of artistic elements (artistic narration), contains a confessional thread. Intuition which leads Ivana through artistic exploration also leads her in combining symbolic relationships between motifs. The scenes created in her paintings irresistibly lead me to solving, looking for meaning, discovering a hidden story whose plot is directed to dreamy luxury of subconscious.
In the scenes from the cycle a human figure is most present. It is presented as a shape; it creates a silhouette whose identification is not clear, which makes it mysterious from the start.
The mysteriousness of the silhouette, indetermination of object, leaves the observer enough space for identification. That silhouette is offered as a position from which both observer and painter can enter the space of the painting.
In her paintings I see a look directed from the silhouette which as a spotlight lights a space in front of it. The look lit by the light of its own consciousness stresses out the focus of the silhouette on the process of artistic observation. That observation is not just a mere passive observation; it studies and sees through it. By looking at the silhouette I think that Ivana is representing herself by it. It is as through the observation of her painted alter-ego her view is told, and that view is powerfully directed towards breezy and vast fields. In the real world, on this side of a painter’s canvas, these fields exist where Ivana grew up; they surround the idyll of Nova Ploščica. The expanse of fields next to which she lived is found in Ivana and the space of her silhouette. That expanse is located in the intimate space of her inner being where it arrived, through the process of observation, by subjective optics. With her paintings Ivana slightly opened the door and showed us how (just as a photographic camera which by series of concave and convex lenses can import the whole mountains in its tiny breast), the totality of the world around her is comprised in her.
By projecting her view of the surroundings which is at the same time projected in her core, Ivana managed to illustrate the universality of the subject in which we all find ourselves, and which is connected to our sentimentality towards our own native land, the land which defined our personality in so many ways.
“There are only a few Croatian painters whose work is so local, so physically, narrowly, permanently and organically tied to the artist’s homestead, and which is, on the other hand, generally acceptable as an universal theme,” it was once said of Oton Gliha. “Placing local content in the global and cosmic scale”, “skilled transformation of regional and national in universal and international” is also a characteristic of the landscape painted by Ivana. This time Bjelovar’s landscapes got an artist who transformed their visual representation into the level of artistic identity.
The fields and boundaries between them are man’s record in the land which Ivana transcribes with her personal handwriting, reducing them to the squares of transparent layers of green color and creating a mark that testifies of her deep relationship to the land.
The man through whom the motifs of homeland in which flies the bird which symbolizes free and unrestricted flight are reflected could in some other time be interpreted in a manner of dictated patriotism. However, what ties us to the paintings that Ivana created is not a realization of a wish to verify one’s roots and place in the collective, but it is much closer to the world of semi-conscious immersion in the man’s personal space. Therefore we do not need to consult geopolitical maps to find the space depicted on the paintings. The silhouette of a man is constantly looking for his place in the space of the painting, changing in the process of painting by each new stroke. The silhouette is Ivana’s shadow. She observes, transforms and merges with the landscape, the bird and the tree. In that way, all her motifs stop being a theme and begin an artistic vision of the world in whose mythology the only constant is change. The silhouette is a source of the painting which Ivana, in her creative flow to its delta, leads through different riverbeds. To achieve that, one needs to have more than only artistic skill, one also needs to have spiritual ability to listen to one’s own soul, to delve into the depths of one’s own being.
One of the last paintings from the cycle is impressive, the one in which Ivana painted a glass bell above all other motifs. I assumed that she wanted to say how she is trying to protect the fragility and gentleness of stratification through which the vastness of meadows and fields settled in her soul. I thought that all her paintings have a role of the glass bell, because they, by the artistic skill, in the packaging of the painter’s canvas permanently store valuable processes of development inside her own horizons.
“Art is an attempt to defend the unity of the world, secret connection between all things,” Dubravka Ugrešić wrote.
It appears that Ivana has found that wondrous, connecting thread – by taking it from the line of horizon of her own scope.
By the same thread she has woven in her world her own existence.

Irena Jukić-Pranjić

A close observer's view

Ivana Barišić Tomšić

Mister Leonardo put a square into a circle and a man into the square, and the center of everything was nonetheless – the man's navel.
That simple scene fascinatingly speaks of God’s inclination to circles and irregular shapes, infinity and eternity, but also of man’s inclination to geometrical shapes, finiteness and determination.
In other words, for wonderful ideas we need a bit of mathematics, a bit of imagination and basic need of a human being to bring order into the world, to set its limits (of any nature), so these limits would entice us to ignore and move them, to advance outside them instigated by ourselves.
Therefore, the whole tree top can emerge in the cube which then multiplies in the regular alley of trees in the middle of a field; a character can come to life – blue, enlarged as an Aztec mask of the same man who is calmly standing shrunk between the edges of Da Vinci’s square, marked by the lines which divide him; and there’s also a cube in the sky which floats unsupported in space that was once occupied by the temples located at the tops of Aztec pyramids…
God likes diversity; man is inspired by it, and in that way indirectly lives of it. Diversity is the origin of constant need to advance and grow in imagination and of ability of visualizing things in ways which are never the same, in order for our perception to grow and spread like nature: to colors, roots, sky, earth and many more things, so we could also grow like a woman-tree that emerges from the face-mask, maybe even God himself.
The cycle CUBES can be approached in many ways; not a single one will be better or worse, it will be only – different. To me, simple ideas are interesting, so, knowing the painter personally, I think that this cycle has been pulled out of her dreams, these real dreams which sneak up on us at night and create unique wonders from our material reality.
It would be no good to be a painter if all that wasn’t painted, an inimitable mosaic created; if all pieces weren’t ordered in such a way that it is obvious even to me that we can fit the whole world in a cube, and that the world in the cube does not need to be miniaturized, limited or reduced.
Diversity and debauchery of that which is framed by a cube is limitless, just as the beauty of a man, woman, tree, earth – life…

Katica Barišić

Intro

Ivana Barišić Tomšić

Very intimate Ivana Barišić's painting has outgrown the influences of her former Academy of fine arts Zagreb professor Zlatko Keser, and it is already presenting its own specific view of the world. At the first glance, we are not certain what we see in the paintings of the young artist: the world of dreams or the world of subconscious, anxiety, melancholy or self-analysis - like an intimate painter’s diary which she trustingly offers us for observatio n. The impression of a diary is additionally strengthened by small formats of the paintings. The artist allows us to enter her world, shares with us all her doubts and anxious emotions, all of which have a certain therapeutic effect on the observer.
The main character on the paintings is the artist herself, sometimes with a cat, sometimes as a full figure of a woman, which we speculate is the authoress herself or a personification of a woman as a human being. Anxiety that we feel in Ivana Barišić’s paintings is derived from the very conception of creating a space inside of a painting: the artist’s head looks towards the empty corner, it is raised high towards the sky, or the different elements of landscape and objects suggest a wish to surpass the set limits – existential present. On many paintings the authoress’ mood is set by color and motive: from black crows and hellishly red face to an attempt of creating an effect of almost renaissance-graded greenish-blue landscape in the background of the painting, and calm, pensive and relaxed facial expression. Every painting of Ivana Barišić is actually a projection of emotional-mental mood and condition of the artist on a certain day or period in which the painting was created. In that context, it is not painting which does puts stress on technical perfectionism, nor it needs to, but it in a special manner signalizes artistic sensibility close to the tradition of hermetic painting, a direction of surrealist and existentialist painting.
The face as a metaphor of the center of the artist’s world from which starts the movement towards others, outside self and over the boundaries of “my Ego”, was a permanent interest of many 20th century artists. The motifs of self-portraits are the very ones which at the present time speak of a significant and symbolic gesture with which the artists try to abolish detrimental theory that everything has already been seen and painted in art. If authenticity of majority of paintings can be denied, no one can deny authenticity of the artist’s self portrait, no matter which stylistic direction s/he belongs to. Because, if some day everything is forgotten, lost and sunk in the darkness of some gallery storage, maybe the only authentic artistic and human experience on the painting will be the face of the artist. Instead of painting other people’s reality, such a systematic, almost maniacal need and struggle to leave a mark of someone’s meaningful existence induces the observer’s respect, because the artist cannot be robbed of her right to document her own existence, to leave the mark that Ivana Barišić once existed, in a manner of speaking, fuit.

Iva Körbler

Art exhibition – Garešnica

Ivana Barišić Tomšić

Today, at the time of total subjectivity in art, when it does not find its place not even as a critical thought, this text is a note of the first independent exhibition of Ivana Barišić.
We are viewing the paintings that were created during the last two years of studying at the Academy of fine arts Zagreb. We can identify three artistic units. The first is from 2003, and it was created according to thoughts of P. Klee on the nature of artistic work. Creation which, like a nature, forms reality, much more direct and simple... However, the process and creation of art are more important than the final result.
So, on her hills, we may find the magical tree of Klee which must be made in accurate and only possible proportions, at specific places.
These are good paintings.
The next cycle starts when the painter becomes too constrained by Klee's poetics, when she leaves his reliable surroundings of certainty and departs for uncertainty. By returning to her origins, she takes a step back in order to make two steps forward.
In the manner of good painting her TUNNELS are created: suggestive, subjective interpretation of self and some conditions... psychogenic expressionistic figuration. Afterwards follows, in my opinion, her most intriguing paintings, those from 2005, self-portraits; the paintings which will provoke suspicion even in those most benevolent.
These few self-portraits of Ivana Barišić must be faced with respect and without prejudice… as in front of a person who is confiding in us. They need to be faced with total concentration in order to feel interdependence of the painter’s phantasmagorias and her artistic expression… the inner soul of the artist. They need to be approached without forethought, in order to comprehend the authentic intensity of artistic matter… painting which does not live only of unusual, paradoxical beauty of ideas.

P. S.
I’d say that Ivana Barišić’s self-portraits do not owe almost anything to R. Magritte and F. Kahlo… their portraits perhaps only encouraged her.

Stjepan Gračan