|Vivien Kabar’s work highlights elemental images, using dramatic ploys such as contrasts in scale, shifts in focus, mirrored reflections|
Vivien Kabar’s work highlights elemental images, using dramatic ploys such as contrasts in scale, shifts in focus, mirrored reflections, staccato images and multiple or layered surfaces. Sensory perception for Kabar is a spiritual activity, one that leads to a heightened awareness of both nature and culture—this thought process points to a new kind of realism—one that is engaged with the actual processes of life. A diverse and curious artist Kabar’s recent work Francois, or the Schizophrenia of a Pompous Waiter highlights her interest in self-representation and portraiture. Layers of paint are composed according to a working method the artist sees as being similar to the process of drawing in that you are looking at something and re-presenting it in as direct a way as you can. The delicately incised marks of detail in this work, drawn over washes of color evoke clouds of ambiguity. In each of Kabar’s working methods there is a balance between action and contemplation. Colors are also paired with their opposites: red complemented by green and blue with orange. Through such color contrasts Kabar’s is able to suggest a special narrative using color to define rather than merely complete the form. For her abstraction in nature is not amorphous or formless. The images are just fragments extracted from their figurative context. Kabar uses line, not so much as a means of representation, but in a more abstract way, to express feelings and moods; retaining the notion that the artist role is to suggest, not define.
Each of Kabar’s paintings has a visceral punch that obviates deconstructive analysis, employing universally understood images to create complex perceptual experiences. The image and concept are dramatically juxtaposed and poetically structured in an attempt to heighten sensory experience, and in some cases to call it into question. Kabar is concerned with making the spectator aware of the connections between body and mind, contemplation and action, inner and outer reality dealing with themes of perception, memory, and self-knowledge. The first thing that strikes one about Kabar’s paintings is the richness of their color, and the second thing one notices is the peculiarly archaic character of her dynamic figures. In The Sorrow of the Muse Kabar uses the classic portrait as a vehicle to explore form, color and shape. These elements are explicitly the subject of the painting and given equal emphasis. The dynamic relationship between the forms is emphasized by the intensive outlines and flat unmixed color forms. Recently her palette has become increasingly vibrant. Bright passages of color are vigorously applied in seemingly spontaneous brushstrokes. However in actuality Kabar plans her compositions very deliberately according to formal principles, the work creates a type of visual sound through patches of lines and color—the work is made to listen to.