Vladimir Meglić Retrospective

A table, a chair, centuries A Note on Painting of Vladimir Meglić Being a diehard traditionalist, an untiring figurative painter and a dedicated fo- llower of classical motives with resolutely warranted symbolism, Vladimir Meglić should not be put on the margin of the contemporary Croatian art and he doesn’t have to apologize for his anachronistic and almost eclectic orientation. to put it simply, by his powerfully and persuasively expressed chromatic sensitivene- ss and by his coherent handwriting, as well as by his indisputable imaginative takeoffs, he rightly offers his interesting creative option to the public, or in other words, he demonstrates his motivation and sincerity of his commitment, he tries to convince us in the homogeneousness of the world that he gives us evidence of and which he has committed himself to. We may welcome a certain tolerance, plurality and revitalization of innovativeness — characteristic for the postmodern way of reception — nevertheless, his painting is marked by individual experi- ence and by an exceptionally talented styling, as well as by critical and glazed acceptance, even if we perceive it independently from the spirit of the times, from the epoch which in principle accepts many retro or diachronic forms. Vladimir Meglić has become recognized in the last ten or more years, but his creative endeavor has got considerably deeper roots and quite large amplitude that covers many-times longer period. Without mentioning ups and downs of his formation and maturity years, we will realize that he has always managed to find his peculiar characteristics and values since the very beginning; that he has ta- ken the course of a systematic deformation and a slightly grotesque perception of figures in a motive and intonation sense since the second half of the 1970s; that he has tried, like old painters from the North, to find his own alternative inter- pretations of visible world and of human relationship (although with a feeling of having a transcendental aura, and metaphysical security). it is not exaggerated to say that as a young painter he assimilated a lot of experi- ence from historically chosen medium, and that he was attracted by Gothic and mannerist painters, as well as classical and modern ones. if we also consider that as a little boy he was fascinated by tyrol colored statues of the saints, and as a young man he spent a lot of time working as a stage designer, then we have established a network of influential factors in his search for his own artistic expression. Naturally, while traveling all over the world he visited museums and churches, galleries and squares, and he discovered different landscapes and settings, which he was forced to compare with panoramic views from his native region – Međimurje, undisputedly constitutionally essential and life-philosophi- cally determinant ones. Most interpreters of his opus will justly characterize him as an expressionist; put him in a neo-expressionistic milieu of the late 20th century (perhaps even close to the German ‘new wild ones’). Anyway, they will find some resemblance with Van Gogh, in his choice of motives (chairs and beds), as well as in his sound and clear choice of colors; or with Rouault, in his fauvist contrasting gamma and in his miserable mixture of gentle sympathy and light irony. it is not indisputable that Meglić has evolutionally moved further on by assimilating some cubist achi- evements (multiple perspectives) or surrealistic ones (annulment of gravitation), but has been fully aware that he uses ‘patents’ of historic vanguard only when they acquire a standard value and an official verification. However, it is symp- tomatic that Meglić includes Klee and Miró as his predilection idols, both the artists possessing particularly oneiric and non-mimetic qualities. Although, he is a figurative painter and cannot reject the burden of iconic symbols and signs, he uses logic and free ‘abstractions’ when he composes his cadre and distributes elements on the canvas (paper, wall). in other words, he distributes his figures and shapes across the painting surface as a sort of blots or accumulated pi- gments, as the elements that will concordantly echo in harmony of sequences. i daresay that Vladimir Meglić has not responded to Babylonian or Alexandrian post modern painting, but he has organically grown up and accepted tradition through a modern filter. His attitude towards classical tradition could be, with slight exaggeration, compared with picasso’s ‘reading’ of Cranach and Vela- squez or with Bacon’s paraphrasing of Van Gogh and – again Velasquez. Of course, our young painter could not have been able or might not have wanted to reach an autonomous level of the patterns as the above mentioned great predecessors, but he knew how to continue in his own peculiar way, or, in other words, he has managed to express motives of his own inspiration and paint with a specific variant of animated handwriting and with coloristic euphoria. Even before Meglić stabilized his palette and imagery, he had shown his in- disputable orientation towards miracle and fantasy, and his inclination towards distortion of shapes and hypertrophy of space. His early pre-academic works, such as “landscape” (1975), “Metaphysical” (1978), “Mockery” (1979), and “Comic” (1978), show his authentic commitment and his need to become obsessed with figures and scenes. However, in the 1990s – after he had been investigating for a long time, he became a mature and a self-confident author, having created a series of cyclic interpretations of some dominant motives. His emphasized gestures and presumptuous close positioning of the contrasted fragments show his confident performance, and the possibility of individualizing his work of art depends on his almost inexhaustible imagination. Meglić seems to play with “common places”, with fixed attributes, with “static metaphors” of his universe (such as a table board, a drawer, and a seat and a back of a chair), and then he tries to make them richer or easier by adding accessories (dices, a spinning top, a vase, a tear, a horn, fruit, a bird, a nest, and so on). proportionally, Meglić has painted mostly interiors in his painting opus so far. With an exception of some mosaics and stained-glass works, his canvases most often have an intimate chamber atmosphere showing co-ordinates of the walls, ceilings and floors of the room. However, his method of painting seems to surpass the limi- ted space and he treats the surface in a cosmic manner. His open drawers not only indicate a sort of penetration into unknown depths and his open windows not only have a view on unlimited wide space, but his dynamic gesture sugge- sts an astral expansion and harmony of contrasts. “the Black Cloud”, which can be discerned beyond the window on the painting from the year 2000, will echo in the thick landscape behind St. ilija, on the painting from the year 2001. “the Yellow Field” (1995) will be the background for his later painting “Flora” (1999), and in his painting “to the Flowers of St. Dorothy” (1998), or even to “pan” (1997). And geometrical shapes from “dice players” (2000) will be reflected in the mirror of the “nest” (2002) … the life of forms and shapes on Meglić’s paintings greatly depend on interwea- ving of orthogonal and undulated lines of forces. the table boards on his pain- tings show the amplitude from rigid linear strokes to Baroque curved and twisted edges, and are used as pars pro tot way of framing and organizing of the given elements. When he paints a ladder or floor boards, or bars on the back of a chair, we can perceive a whole coordination system of linear parallelisms that are confronted with organically developed dominant parts of the composition. the author himself is fully aware of essential polarization in many of his paintin- gs, which is shown in the names of his works “turquoise on red background”, “Red-green”, “Warm-cold”, and “Male-female”, and so on. Finally, looking back at the whole opus of Meglić’s painting, we can conclude that he is an extraordinary interesting author, who has been very creative and who has tried his hand at several problem levels. in spite of having reached a homogenous individual style, there is no fatigue or monotony present in his per- formance, so we can look forward to his further creative breakthroughs. Tonko Maroević
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