17 June – 30 July, 2016
EPEKA Gallery, Maribor

On Friday, 17 June 2016, at 7 pm, the EPEKA Gallery in Maribor hosted the opening of a painting exhibition by Slovenian artist Brina Torkar.

Brina Torkar was born in 1978 in Jesenice. After graduating from the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana, majoring in graphic design, she enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in 2002, majoring in painting, under Prof. Emerik Bernard and Prof. Herman Gvardjančič. In 2005, she studied for three months at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland, and made a visual documentary Ulikses/Ulysses with Ana Čigon. In 2007, she graduated from the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts under the supervision of Prof. Sergei Kapus on the topic “Painting as a space of exchange between pictorial and contemporary reproductive processes”. She is currently completing her master’s thesis “Painting as a Space of Interdisciplinary Research”.
In 2008 she received the Prešeren Student Prize. Since the same year, she has been teaching and directing the Brina Torkar School of Painting. She lives and works in Ljubljana.

The event will be opened by the honorary patron of the exhibition, the Ambassador of India to Slovenia, His Excellency Mr. Sarvajit Chakravarti.

In contemporary art production, which is very diverse, especially in trendy technological orientations, Brina Torkar’s painting reflects a willing intention in maintaining a classical approach in treating the painting surface as a space of utmost intimate confession. This orientation and her research attitude towards her chosen medium are also evidenced in her bachelor’s and master’s theses, which she is currently completing. Brina Torkar has been drawing the attention of the public and the profession with her discreet lyrical and contemplative autopoetics, which are extremely intimate and at the same time socially confessional, since her graduation from the Academy in Ljubljana; she has also repeatedly convinced the international jury of Ex-tempora Piran, as her paintings have been included in several exhibitions at the Municipal Gallery of Piran and at Monfort, and she has been awarded a large redemption prize after being selected by the jury. Torkarjeva is certainly a sensitive observer and creator, for whom the process of painting is also a ritual of intimate thinking, feeling and research, which conditions her motivational and contextually engaged work. Not to be neglected is her in-depth research into various spiritual disciplines and historical periods, their values and knowledge, and consequently, in her creative process, she is also confronted with universal questions about man, especially about woman as an individual, her involvement in the past and present, and her determination in values conditioned by the philosophical orientation of the concrete and broader global space. There is, of course, also her own life experiences, which always dictate – at least on the surface – a very spontaneous and intuitive choice of motifs, identifiable and placed in the colour-filled field of her paintings. She retains the figurative, but it is always the female figure who stands out, the protagonist of a new story with familiar symbolic and semantically multilayered connotations. But her main challenge and inspiration remains the universal and at the same time her extremely intimate felt and understood perception of woman in her deepest essence. For Brina Torkar, painting is a confrontation with her conscious and subconscious level: it is her outward dialogue and her utterly honest personal confession as a woman, as an artist, as a mother. Her latest paintings from the last few years, presented for the first time at the exhibition “The Flower of Love” in Koper’s Meduza, are also sublimated and subjective stories in colours and stripes, as messages reflecting new insights, experiences and behaviours, as well as memories, reminiscences and associations from her own life. All of this is like the artist’s irresistible creative agent, which dictates her ever new artistic realisations, whether as miniature sketches – these are also sketches for later realisations – or strongly coloured images on canvas, often on unconventional monumental formats in the shape of an ellipse. With their peculiar metaphorical iconography, they always exude a special meditative, mysteriously mystical in segments, and at the same time majestic atmosphere that evokes awe, but certainly engages the viewer in various mental and emotional interpretations and sensory perceptions. Brina’s canvases are distinctive for their choice of colouring, which is synergistically complemented by discreetly felt drawing. One immediately recognises the themes that have long been a constant in the artist’s oeuvre: the female figure is thoughtfully placed in the landscape, most often among tall and mighty trees, in a space primordially familiar yet mysterious. The very dimensions of the depicted figure – the female nude is always smaller, with an invisible facial identity, but with her dynamic pose of movement, which draws attention despite her placement in the majestic space of the forest – reflect the artist’s deep, sincere spiritual exploration, self-questioning about the universal and never-finished questions of the role of man, or of woman, and of nature in the past, present and future. The distinctive landscape is presented in all its elemental beauty, indestructibility and archetypical character, accentuated by the concrete lighting atmosphere and the corresponding shadowed and illuminated parts. The landscapes are definitive and realistic, at the same time fabulously peaceful and mysteriously imaginary: within the chaotic everyday life of modernity, they transport each of us to a sense of the forgotten grandeur of elemental beauty and, at the same time, to the silence of cosmic metaphysical meditativeness. In this context, the female figure, as the most intimate bearer of the artist’s confession, draws the viewer’s attention even more, becoming a visually appealing metaphor that again offers the viewer the possibility for a variety of interpretations, as well as contemplation.

Nives Marvin

The exhibition is on view until 30 July 2016.

Gallery opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm.