Vladislav Vovkanic’s world of pictures, painted in the last few years, is dominated by two ideas that are, to a great extent, contradictory. On the one hand are lyrically accented landscapes made romantic and joyful by Vovkanic’s method. To use a literary parallel, these paintings are “nature set to lyrics”. On the other hand is the artist’s second theme; a city street, coffeehouses and the life inside them, typical of 19th and 20th century Europe and its figurative painting style.
The distinction of theme and inspiration in both groups of paintings is pronounced even in the very character of the work. The colorful composition of Vovkanic’s landscapes is based first of all in a harmony of browns and yellows, which complement ochre and faint greens. The handiwork of the painting is distributed, color-illuminated and dainty. In these pictures, human figures are unique. They are not protagonists and are composed into the landscape like component parts. They are not dramatic characters in the painting or the composition. His landscapes are, as has already been said, harmonic and poetic.
The figurative paintings of the second group-markedly Paris-inspired-are pictues of stories, dialogues, and solitude. A series of studies and autobiographical books was dedicated to the phenomenon of coffeehouses and their meaning in artistic and community life in Europe. Vovkanic’s „Coffeehouses“ document the continuation of this theme to the present day, the turn of the millennium.
The form structure of these works is perceptibly more differentiated, particularly by, but not limited to, the enriched and almost beaming, colorul palette. The craft of the treated painting transforms itself into larger flecks of color.
In the context of watercolor painting and drawing, which Vovkanic masters with remarkable ease and bravado, his technique asserts itself more notably. Of his own work, Vladislav Vovkanic says, „I don’t have a clean-cut style of drawing or painting: I do what amuses me. The important thing is, that everyone can project his imagination into the picture.“
Petr Hartmann, PhD
Prague, May 2001
Simple Café Scenes Along the Path to Eternity
Painting is for some people as much a part of life as breathing. One such fortunate person is Vlado V. Perhaps that is the very reason he can afford the luxury of modesty. For no one has to audibly bring the attention of his surrounding to the simple fact, that he was just able to take a deep breath. If one possesses a true gift, he does not have to speak of it. V.V. says much more with his brush than with words.
There is however one more noteworthy quality, without which art could not exist: discovery in the waves of ordinary life. But it is only one who discovers, who sees a new continent, an unknown planet, a unique space to express a yet unknown dimension. A small example: Everyday thousands of people sit around in Prague’s café‘s, yet few can discover living poetry there. Vlado’s paintings possess it. They float above tables full of drinks and figures covered with a veil of sympathetic mystery. This intersects with the magical, hundred-spired, orloj encompassing, Kafka-Mucha-Secession-Impressionist atmosphere, which so many seek in this proclaimed city.
Perhaps one has to come from far, to discern treasure in the ordinary. Perhaps one has to circle the world, to discover the simple beauty of home. Perhaps one must gain a multi-cultural dimension, to see spiritual beauty in those who are closest. Vlado has an underserved advantage: he comes from the Ukraine and his wife is Canadian. For that alone, his eyes must be different, more sensitive to light and darkness, more receptive to the play of colors in the mystery-filled city in the heart of Europe. Life is certainly much more than an endless film of moving pictures, beautified by a mixture of shades from the color spectrum of our receptivity. Each object and each being has, besides its physical substance, a spiritual dimension. All occurrences take place between good and evil. And the path of each human has a starting point and a finishing point. The paintings of Vlado V. resemble snapshots from long, exciting pilgrimages. Pictures, which years later, bring to the present emotions of the ever-changing world: simple café scenes along the path to eternity.