“Due to a too superficial understanding of American abstract expressionism of the 1950s and 1960s, when we overlooked the different, non-image-making starting points of most of its protagonists, we already anticipated the last paintings in history, for example. If we leave aside the fact that some artists will always like to reach for the brush and even willingly renounce their own attachment to space and time, today, when almost a hundred years have passed since the first manifestos for new art, we must make certain claims about the survival of the classical image (Judita Krivec Dragan, Podoba kot presežek videnega, DLUL, 2002, from the exhibition catalogue, p.8)
If we have satisfied the answer about the survival of the classic painting even before today’s time, then in the selection of Janko Orač’s latest paintings – he has forty years of artistic activity behind him today with an emphasis on the field of reproductive graphics – it is worth analyzing the artist’s approach in what is certainly for him also an innovation process interventions on the painting surface, which deserves the title of collage.
At this point, we must immediately ask ourselves the question about the function, amount and cause of such an intervention, which in Slovenian is called “glue”. Of course, the modern collage is no longer tied to the resonance of its original historical time when paper was discovered in China around 200 BC: the stylistic development of painting over the centuries has “loaded” many things on the collage. It could be said that its modern function can basically be a kind of correction, addition and new derivation of the pure painting process. A derivative, which is not disturbing and which complements and enriches the original painterly thought.
In Orač’s case, it seems that he introduces an element, or rather a moment of additional impulse, the concentration of the central orientation of an otherwise extremely colorful field, i.e. a kind of building up, which Orač, in his current painting phrase, not to say phase, is also able to renounce completely, minimize. And this in the name of its characteristic color variety of both cold (predominantly blue) and warm (predominantly red) tones in the field of pure abstraction. In this respect, it seems if we are discovering the meaning of such an awakened, true Janko’s raving after the colorful filling of the carrier. A carrier who, in such a capacity, reacts primarily emotionally: Orač’s example of the dominant modern-day lyrical abstraction, an emotional response to the sensitivity of the exterior in different seasons. In fact, the concentration on today’s summer and the already past, dead cold period is completely equivalent to that phenomenon, which in artistic approaches is called with the common denominator empathy. Empathy, which the artist must master in order to earn this title and which allows him to relax in the sense of giving away on the basic carrier. With such a revitalization, which can also be called historicization in relation to the original appearance of lyrical abstractism in the early decades of the last century, Orač deserves the title of poetic abstractist again.
This, let’s call it the poetic dimension, which is tied to and comes from the painter’s emotional charge, the impulse that is released in certain creative moments, could also be defined as his substantive dimension. A dimension that unfolds in colorful layering and which is complemented and enriched by the collage creative approach mentioned in the introduction with a special ease.
Janko Orač, painter and specialist in graphics
He was born on June 3, 1958 in Celje, and spent his childhood in Zibika. In 1997, he graduated from the School of Drawing and Painting, a professional high school in Ljubljana, with prof. Dušan Kirbish. He completed his postgraduate studies in art graphics at the ALU in Zagreb with prof. Nevenka Arbanas and obtained the title of university graphic specialist. In 1999 and 2008, he had the most comprehensive reviews of his now forty-year-old creative work in the Gallery of the Dolenjski museum Novo mesto, in 2002 in the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Celje, in 2011 in the Carinthian Gallery of Fine Arts Slovenj Gradec, and in 2018 a comprehensive exhibition of prints in Jakčev dom, Dolenjski museum Novo mesto. He received numerous awards at home and abroad for his works. He creates in the field of painting, drawing, graphics and spatial layouts. He lives and creates in Novo mesto and Zibika. He is a member of DLUD and ZDSLU. For many years he has been participating in painting colonies and symposiums in Slovenia and abroad (Croatia, Poland, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Spain). In recent years, he has been a guest of many graphic biennials and triennials abroad (Split, Livno, Bitola, Varna, Paris) and other international exhibitions.