Tickle Torture, Beers London, March 2017

‘Tickle Torture’ (group exhibition)


I was captivated instantly by the work of Maja Ruznic. Why?

  • Wild colour combinations – they look unplanned but on standing back there is a coherence and clear themes. Really luminous quality to the work.
  • Translucent layers of colour
  • Abstract painterly primordial forms, As if from a dream/imagination
  • Use of very thin painterly lines to indicate form – very sparse but they gave a dimensionality to the work
  • Primitive, amorphous, forms emerging from the abstraction. Visceral, challenging, exciting, vibrant
  • Interesting method within the painting, seemed to initially be a base layer of translucent colour but not just one, sometimes appeared to be 3 or 4 areas of different colours. There were also repetitions of the divisions falling within thirds of the canvas.

In the information sheet, part of Ruznic’s process is described as ‘allowing the paint to bleed and run of its own accord. By concentrating on colour rather than line, her works become abstract landscapes from which the viewer’s innate pareidolia discerns figures and faces’. I recognize something of this in my own work – I naturally seek out forms within the absence of them – they emerge as if from a sub-conscious platform and seeing Ruznic’s work was an affirmation that I should continue experimenting with this having now seen it created so successfully by her. I was also interested to really look closely at Ruznic’s brushwork – some of it was painterly, some as if she had scrubbed at the canvas and a bare covering of pigment was left behind. Reminded me to think less about mark making initially and more about layers of colour and building form.

Ruznic’s work reminded me of the fluidity of Eleanor Moreton’s and her imaginary scenes. The darker qualities of Ruznic’s work, the elemental primal energy, reminded me of the work of Dean Melbourne.

What I didn’t like:-

There were a few areas in one or two paintings where the amorphous figures had become too well formed and looked rather like charicatures (e.g. the feet).

My favourite painting was ‘The Wailing Sisters’ (2017) because it retained a feeling of ambiguity and formlessness within the shapes of the bodies. Seeing Ruznic’s work enabled me to reflect on some of the qualities of my own process which, as yet, aren’t formed but I am aware are there. This exhibition helped me to acknowledge the importance of including a layer of this kind of exploratory painting.


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