Lives Journal 11

Damir Globochnik

 

A DESIRE FOR HARMONIOUS ORDER

 

Peter Abram's creative pulse in making sculptures, pictures and works on paper stems from his pulse of life and inner rhythms by disclosing his personal experience and his take on day-to-day reality. Drawing or painting is always an intimate act of illustration and a peculiar inward journey. Visual expression is strictly related to the discovery of inner motives and a search for balance. Abram's drawings, paintings and stone sculptures are born out of the artist's intimate dialogue with himself. Emphasising content is far more important than creating expansive visual works that are in tune with the ever expansive media moments and therefore Peter Abram prefers resorting to traditional visual expression with carefully planned exhibitions.

Visual expression of this kind can only be created by using a dense visual language. In drawings, force shows in expressive lines, in watercolour by subtle brush strokes tracing the contours and following the subject's defining traits. Pencil strokes are usually delicate and Peter Abram uses them to catch the subject's main shapes, while body forms can, for example, be created by a fine web of lines. His approach to watercolour is not much dissimilar. Although preserving the features of the subject, tender, translucent colours and summary traits of the brush not covering the entire surface contribute to conjuring up a new and harmonious piece. A seemingly simple trait of brush or pencil is a result of a considerable amount of concentration and a complex creation method allowing no shortcuts. It is exactly for this reason that Peter Abram is often returning to some subjects over longer periods of time. Instead of chronological order or a sequence of subjects on a straightforward time line, we can talk about a developing continuum of Abram's iconographic universe, which forms a consistent unity in spite of the wide range of methods he uses.

The creative procedure chosen by Peter Abram is rather difficult to be put to words. We could say that the form, as seen by the human eye, is intuitively perceived and internalised by the artist and the consequent impression generates a feeling or a subconscious thought that leads the artist's hand and contributes to the process of creation. Thus, the artist always draws from his intimate experience, which is condensed and expressed or even embodied in the piece of art.

The creative pulse is always linked to the artist's way of living and his contemplative approach. Peter Abram has firmly decided to abandon the academic approach of recording the formal features of subjects and is focusing on his own conscious and subconscious mental processes. The author's experience can therefore be conveyed to sensitive viewers, who are able to intuitively feel the poetic and soothing notes in his works of art, their non invasive communicative force, their substantive symbolic value combined with an invitation to meditate.

His vedutas, figures and other subjects painted with oil on canvas are not faithful or approximations to what is usually seen. His subjects are better compared to mirrors of his internal feelings and expressions of the author's desire for harmonious order. What particularly seems to attract the artist is the relation between the subject, the visual space and light. His extraordinary sense of colour, the carefully built colour relations and the few selectively chosen and thoughtfully applied brush strokes on the white or delicately coloured foundation sets the subject in a way that it is hard for us to decide whether they have been taken from the external reality or the author's imagination. The artist is more interested in the emotional charge of the subject than in their narrative width or his own ability to depict them. The subjects seem to fade in intense light as soon as they take shape out of the primordial stains of colour. The light, which apparently disintegrates the material foundations of the subject, is used in a metaphoric way.

In his graphics, Peter Abram is resorting to two technical approaches that seem to contradict each other at first sight woodcut and computer graphics. The technical procedure, however, is only a tool used for creating delicate and intimate shapes, small visual symbols, which the artist may also use for decorating books. In addition to printing colour pictures using a wood block, he also relies to embossing. The subjects are always placed in the centre of the sheet. His graphics are usually printed in limited edition.

Peter Abram, who has proven to master the laws of a range of graphical techniques, has been equally spending efforts to sculpting, which is substantially different from the momentary actions of drawing, printing and painting of compositions made up of a few essential and delicate strokes. Carving sculptures from marble or stone from the Island of Brach requires skilled and continuous work (carving, grinding and polishing) which, as an activity, can become meditative in itself. Abram's painting and drawing, however, are much more connected to his sculpting as it may appear. His sculpting also bears his quest for spirituality in arts, a search for everything that transcends mere physical appearance. One of the artist's purposes is to inspire life and meaning to a piece of stone and thus go beyond its material nature. Visual sublimation can be sensed in the careful elaboration of the sculptures' surface, which nevertheless remains a constitutive part of the rustic and seemingly raw piece of stone.

His stone sculptures appear simple and primordial. The balance between the seemingly untouched, roughly carved natural stone and the carefully engraved subject is not strictly related to nude human figures. Stylised plants also remind us of his oneness with nature as a source of inspiration. There are imaginary signs, magic symbols and ideograms to be discovered on his smallish sculptures. They might be called trans-chronological archetypes. Some of the sculptures remind us of pre-classical images of gods, archaic totems that have been preserved--by chance and in fragments--up until our times. We have to know that the artist is very interested in spirituality and religion. The symbolic appeal of his sculptures may be universal, but most probably conditioned by the spiritual and material heritage of the Karst. Choosing stone as a material for his artwork, alongside with a few abstract subjects, Peter Abram has rendered an artistic hommage to the Karst stonecarving tradition and to the traditional modesty, simplicity and sturdiness of the locals. In spite of their modest size, Peter Abram's sculptures usually appear monumental works, probably due to the subjects and the interpretation given to them.

The visual works of Peter Abram may be varied from a formal point of view, but they are substantively sincere and authentic. The artist has always wanted to remain true to himself and his works fully exude the author's perception of the world, as well as his approach to the universe and to existence in general. He did not allow himself to be lured away by more topical or more aggressive visual practices and processes of modern art that might enjoy the limelight from time to time and generate effects beyond art itself. In his more than three decades of continuous creative endeavours, we have had the privilege of witnessing a well-pondered artistic development, which managed to maintain a sense of intimacy in spite of a variety of substantive accents.

 

 

Translated from Slovenian by: Peter Szabo, Helena Biffio, Neville Hall

 

 

Slovenian (gajica)

Slovenian (bohorichica)