By Abraham Lubelski
If you’re brave enough to enter into a world where objectivity is replaced by raw emotion, then feast your eyes on the works of Davor Vukovic. Visceral in their application of layered abstractions, paintings full of vibrant color confront the viewer. Vukovic’s work seems innocent at first. The vibrant color and free dashes of paint on the canvas invite a lighthearted atmosphere that is as bold and intense as any first impression. Upon analysis, the paintings seem less abstract and more mystifying.
His inspiration sprang from Mediterranean lights, the Croatian part of the Adriatic, pure maritime air, clear and “drinkable” sea, wonderful and unique starry nights, and especially the characteristic silence of Indian summer.
His most recent and largest paintings (300×300 cm) are to be shown in the artist’s second one-man exhibition at New York’s Broadway Gallery in October 2013. Although they depict the sea, islands, and submarine landscapes in tones of dark blue and indigo, they also reflect the sky, the infinity of the space, and the moving of myriads of stars and galaxies. The work involves reflections of dark and light sky with the bottom of the sea on the surface and in the deep water. These shades, spots, and effusions of paint evoke Monet’s large-format paintings, although they are carried out in a completely different way by using the techniques of action painting. The background, due to the artist’s tectonic moves in the process of constructing and deconstructing, emerges on the very surface of the painting like islands emerge from the sea. They are the images of brightness and the future, but also of the depths of infinity where we can easily vanish and disappear in the artist’s ecstasy. We can also experience the paintings as our inner fears if we are unfamiliar with the unknown.
When we indulge in them, we see the tide and the ebb flow through the magma of paint. We see the glittering flicker of the sun, the moon, and the stars on the surface of the good old inexhaustible sea. Soaked with the thick, vibrantly alive energy from the miracle of unspeakable beauty which Vuković unreservedly depicts, his most recent works pulsate in harmonic rhythm so that the dense radiant open colors of the coast, undersea, and the islands, are poured into his paintings like the sea itself. They are as transparent as watercolor paintings but also saturated with ultramarine blue, the trademark color of the people living in southern Croatia.
While composing the painting, Vuković continues with the process of superimposing layers, a process described in an inspired foreword of his last exhibition held in Old city hall in Split, the city of Roman emperor Diocletian and the city of Vuković’s childhood and first inspiration. The author of the foreword, a prominent Croatian art historian, Mirjana Repanić Braun, PhD pointed out, “This procedure resulted in the ultimate duel of two almost equally important layers: the chaotic and dynamic lower layer spread over the entire surface of the canvas and the ‘soothing’ upper layer of untainted colors applied in broad brushstrokes to determine the whole.
On one side, there is the impression of fragile diffusion, instability and motion, the permanent interaction with the sea, the sky, the light, and the chromatic and tonal varieties of color. On the other hand, hidden from our eyes, there is the static nature of archipelagoes, their primordial character, their hidden connection to the land, their deep roots in the ground – an almost metaphorical paraphrase of the artist’s being. “