Janko Orač – Colour and space

Katja Ceglar

Janko Orač belongs to the middle-aged generation of Slovene artists. In all these years he has managed to become a profilic artist in the field of graphic art and photography, which he nourishes parallel to his painting. He combines seperate art forms into a unified iconographic interpertation of motives. Last year’s summary exhibition in the Gallery of modern art in Celje uncovered a clear insight into the artist’s complete work. The exhibition included the most important works selected from different cycles, which are in fact combined with the iconographical motive of landscape. In some works this motive is more clearly recognisable (but not in the sense of geographical determination) and in others more strongly abstracted in the sense of artist’s self-reflected notion and awarness of the landscape itself. In the moments of change from concrete into abstract, a new cycle of pictures and objects was created (2001/3). Some of the works were painted in consideration of their installation into the exhibition space, that is in the Gallery in Krško.

The works of Janko Orač are somehow minimalistic, very clear and simple. Because of their apparent tranquility (although their internal compositional proportions are dynamical) they can stilistically be defined as a lyrical abstract expressionism. His painting, with the main emphasis on the use of colour and ways of expressing through it, exists on a symbolic-narrative level equal to the artist’s spiritual state when creating emotional atmosphere. Subtle, tender and transparent acrylic colour layers reveal exceptionally sensitive and sensual emotional side of the artist’s character, which is evident in the reflected perception of the happening in his nearest sorroudings and his reaction to it. In mostly horizontally and vertically designed compositions the artist thoughtfully uses waste materials which are artistically remodelled and glued in a collage. With carefully considered installation in the pictorial space the rational side of the artist’s character is clearly expressed along with his way of dealing with problems of changes in pictorial space, confrontation of different basic materials, creation of the painting’s final expression and similar.

The author has combined paintings into triptychs already from the early nineties, although the idea of seperating pictorial space to three parts occured in the author’s mind years before. Painted triptychs are reminiscent of altar tryptychs in churches, which in former chapel of the Holy Spirit even more allude to the function of the actual altar triptych. On a narrative-symbolic level it should not be related to Christian iconography and religion (for example the Holy Trinity), but it mostly reflects the artist’s personal “faith” in trinity of existence, trinity of time, etc.

Janko Orač’s explicit tendency to deal with the problems of pictorial interference into the spacial volume was already pointed out in his exhibition in Dolenjski muzej (Museum of Dolenjska, 1999), whereas the very exhibition grounds in the sense of paintings’ spacial installation did not present such a challenge as in Gallery of Krško. This gallery is one of the rare Slovene exhibition grounds, which demands a preparation of the so called site specific project. This project was an installation, prepared especially for this site, regarding the space and contextualisation of exhibits on the artistically-spacial as well as thematically- meaningful level. Orač supplements an installation of objects- painted triangular pillars to his arrangement of paintings, which create mutual artistic proportions as well as the entire dialogue with the site itself.

This exhibition was named “Colour and space”. With this simple title the author clearly expressed the basic idea, which the exhibiton deals with- establishment of artistic spacial relations between paintings and their surroundings, between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space. Because of the suitable dimensional proportions of the exposition grounds artists manage to master space and with cautious installations in the neutral whitness of centered baroque architecture strive to achieve an abundance or rather a sublimation on the level of content and space. And Janko Orač succeeded in doing so.