Māra Brīvere : Māra’s painting reflects the artist’s path to liberation manifested through rejection of everything superfluous. This is characterized by emotional measurements precisely captured right down to the last millimetre, which are both personal and fragile. In hushed tones, with impressions akin to lines of chalk, and highlighting the value of simplicity and humility, Māra forms a reflection of her own subjective reality. She “portrays” signs or road signs, which help one to see clearly, without the sediment of domestic pollution or the context of the age.
Scrupulously and laboriously conceived large-format paintings or momentary vestiges tell of our unity with nature, the primordial origins of the world, the unjustifiable seismic jolts of fate and the imperceptible expanses of her roots and soul.
Andris Breže : Andris Breže (1958) graduated from the Art Academy of Latvia’s Design (formerly Industrial Art) Department. He has participated in exhibitions since 1977. He was one of the members of the group of Supergraphic Artists who created expressive works of graphic art in the 1980s in the medium of large format screen printing.
He was nominated for the Purvītis Prize for his most recent personal show “A Life of Peace” (Galerija Alma, 2013). Under the pseudonym Andris Žebers, Breže has published three collections of poems: “Tattoos” (Liesma, 1988) and together “Vodkas/Side Effects” (Neputns, 2007). For these, he received the Klāvs Elsbergs Prize for best debut, the Aleksandrs Čaks Prize and the Annual Literature Prize for the year’s best collection of poems.
Kristians Brekte : Kristians Brekte is socially engaged artist who has participated in projects of various scale and already earned the reputation of a somewhat controversial creative figure.
Brave depicting of differently perceived world which is plentiful of fantasy, is a base for the artist's various activities which have been infuriated numerous fellow citizens. The fact that he pretty often brakes the bounds between sacred and forbidden themes, partly derives from his experience of eager graffiti artist.
The range of his artistic outlets is seemingly endless, from monumental ironic figurative compositions charged with powerful energy and seamlessly combining vast and free painting style, emphasized brutal brush strokes and local colour with brilliantly executed realistic representation in the stencil technique, to experiments in the area of organic sculpture. The dominating feel of the works is clear and easily recognizable: they deal with the line between the human and the animal realms, with death, the mythical element and sexuality.
Brekte has been featured in Artist Directory ``Younger that Jesus`` published by Phaidon Press in 2009. It includes
over 500 of the world`s best artists under the age of 33 and is edited by proffesionals like Lauren Cornell, Massimiliano Gioni (The creative director of 55th Venice biennale) and Laura Hoptman.
Kristiana Dimitere : "Kristiana`s art is live theatre, captured in mid-motion. The vivid colours conceal within themselves an omen of fate, which is also always present in the eyes of the characters and sometimes even outside of the picture."
This description by the artist`s mother, legendary Latvian actress Vija Artmane, helps understand the complicated world of Kristiana Dimitere`s art. She`s equally comfortable sculpting, painting, drawing, illustrating, and creating stage sets and animations.
The trump card of Kristiana Dimitere`s art is the plasticity of her shapes and the recognisable lines which tame the artist`s vibrant, fantastic characters so akin to the aesthetics of naïve art.
Ivars Drulle : http://www.ivarsdrulle.com/
Andris Eglītis : Andris Eglītis (1981) lives and works in Rīga. Graduated from the Janis Rozentāls Rīga High School of Art and the Art Academy of Latvia’s Department of Painting. He gained his Masters degree at the Ilya Repin St. Petersburg State Academic Institute of Fine Arts (2005). This year he completed the HISK (Higher Institute for Fine Arts) postgraduate course.
Winner of the Purvītis Award 2013.
Barbara Gaile : Barbara Gaile is one of the more unorthodox representatives of Latvian contemporary art. The source and solution of her self-expression is in her thorough, complete and self-sufficient brand of minimalism.
THE ORGANIC WORKS OF BARBARA GAILE
It is common to break down contemporary art into various trends, to single out tendencies, establish conceptions and strategies, emphasise discourses, describe contexts, recognise conventionality and engage in other similar analytical procedures. This is normal for professional critics and art historians; it helps the audience of contemporary art to orient itself across the manifold space of the latest artistic culture. However, there are artists whose works are ill-suited for such analytic systematisation. One should also note that these are not outsiders but remarkable, talented artists. Of course, Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly, Yves Klein and Agnes Martin can be categorised as abstract artists but this does not help us much to understand their works. In addition, this inclusive definition tends to set them apart from the current trends in contemporary art but their art continues to attract us and is perceived as the best in contemporary painting.
It seems to me that the works of Barbara Gaile coincide with various conceptual strategies in contemporary art (such as field painting or salient painting) but first of all they relate to some exceptionally profound and strong artists. Besides those mentioned above, I could add other wonderful and radically different artists: Louise Bourgeois, Kaze Zimblyte, Rachel Whiteread, Mona Hatoum… Each of them features a distinctive evocative quality that is also typical of Barbara Gaile’s works. She, like the other artists mentioned, pays particular attention to the technological side of making an artwork, turning the process of creativity into an ecstatic procedure and expecting the appropriate perception from the viewer.
Barbara avoids a painterly approach, favouring texture instead; while emphasising the origin of colour in light and retaining the self-sufficient value of pigment, she preserves its “sound” but not its materiality. The materiality of Barbara’s works is recreated; it is different - like the materiality of a living organism… At the same time, the question of materiality recedes into the background; much more important is the life of that which Barbara has created and which would be difficult to call a painting in the traditional sense. It is life and interaction with us as spectators. The suggestive character of the works is so strong that they put us in a state of sustained contemplation and meditation. Barbara’s works appear to stand openly before the viewer yet at the same time they are closed in their autonomous existence. There is no open expression or narrative. It seems that we are contemplating some kind of living organisms, bodies with healed scars and opalescent skin… It is no longer either salient painting or still life but salient life – life created by the artist.
I get the impression that Barbara Gaile has now reached a certain peak in her artistic development, so convincingly does she cultivate her mastery, so stable is the technological side of her painting and her organic creative position. The originality of Gaile’s creativity expands the space of Latvian contemporary art; it gives the most recent art in the world added value and undoubtedly has its audience.
Art critic, artistic director of the Russian National Centre for Contemporary Art
Daiga Krūze :
Ernests Kļaviņš : Through the simple / playful use of colour, drawing and animation, the intelligent provocateur has conjured up fables that make us smile and think... The titles of the works are important for decoding the connections – they serve as rejoinders.
Krišs Salmanis : Krišs Salmanis (1977) studied in the Art Academy of Latvia’s Visual Communication Sub-Department and at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. Having participated in exhibitions since 2001, he has twice been nominated for the Purvītis Prize for the exhibition Lost (Riga Art Space, 2009), and subsequently for the video animation “The Long Day” (Festival Survival Kit 4, 2012) and the exhibition “The Fragility of Trust” (Galerija Alma, 2012). In 2011, he was one of the finalists nominated for the prestigious Henkel Art Award. In 2013, together with artist Kaspars Podnieks, he represented Latvia at the 55th Venice Art Biennale with the pavilion North by Northeast.
Reserved, melancholic, intellectually justified and visually filigree - this briefly describes the artist Krišs Salmanis, who is no doubt one of the brightest representatives of contemporary art in Latvia.
Krišs Salmanis uses animation, video, photography, objects as well as his body, trees etc in his art. However, it is neither the media used, nor the unifying themes, but rather the employed method what characterizes his work.
In Latvian there is not an appropriate synonym for the word 'joke' to denote that the element, which in Salmanis’ work can be perceived as irony or humour, is instead mental excersise, intellectual activity, wit as a twist of thought.
Another important aspect is formulated best by the artist himself, using Kurt Vonnegut’s idea of the complicated futility. The making of Salmanis’ work is often seemingly unnecessarily time- and effort-consuming. It is a kind of self-invented craftsmanship, which, even if unnoticed by the spectator, is a vital component of the final piece. The work of Krišs Salmanis is the process of thinking and the way of passing one’s life.
Conceptual clarity and poetic polysemy co-exist in Salmanis’ art. Painstakingly elaborate, the works are thought out to the tiniest detail; they are often quite minimalist as to artistic expression and defined by their unexpected paradoxicality and intuitive quest for the truth combined with subtle irony and existential sadness.
The artist works in a variety of media, including animation, video and object installation, occasionally using his own body in his art.
Verners Lazdāns : "I'm interested in the incomprehensible in nature – in savagery that contains much undiscovered pre-programmed genuineness.
When creating an artwork, I strive to achieve that the painted character becomes a symbol for an emotional state or trait. Perhaps in this image you will find something I haven’t noticed by myself because of my partly intuitive manner of painting, which is not previously thought out in details.
I avoid explanatory ambience – landscapes and interior because I wish to focus on the image itself. I don’t consider the place where the character stands is so important neither the reality which overwhelms the image, but relevant is the fact of its essence.
The form of my human animals is often inspired by nature - by some animal, piece of rock, part of a bone, piece of wood and ore or even by a natural phenomenon."
Zenta Logina : "The identification signs of Zenta Logina are cosmic themes and usage of abstract shapes. Although both of them seem to be incompatible – there is no need to search for depiction and definite thematic in abstraction – the artist had been obviously interested in both during a long period of time – from the 60ties till the end of her life in 1983.
Besides the interest there was also a hard work that helped Zenta Logina to find her own original way of melting pure arts– enchantment of colors and shapes – togeather with images taken from cosmos research and supplementing it with great share of universalized symbolism
Not only innovative values of composition and extravagant stories but also a quality that is traditionally typical to Latvian art – refined sence of color, a skill of making them attached by special lucidity and ‘sonority’ - are features that make Logina’s artworks able to enchant.
Creating works in similar colouring or more rarely - in contrasting compositions of paint artist has often used glaze, loosening of surface, patina and subpainting techniques and such materials as varnish and bronze and aluminium powders.
Uncommonly consistant focusing on abstraction and choice of themes have raised lack of understanding each during different particular periods and have made mistrustful attitude of authorities of government and art field against works performed by artist. This has inconvenienced her work a lot and restricted posibilities to reach the audience.
Zenta Logina was excluded from The Artists' Union of Soviet Latvia in 1950 because of formalism. Her dedication to abstraction was considered as being too radical in Soviet art."
Otto Zitmanis :
Kalvis Zuters : Kalvis Zuters endows his painted images with his life experience – an unusual and peculiar, carefully guarded private world with a certain dose of solitude. He is an artist capable of defending his creative space against the irritants of the saturated outside world for the "full-bloodied construction" of the life of his characters, materialised in metaphysical images.
Aija Zariņa :
Psihedēlija Klusajā centrā. 25.02. - 12.04.2006., Psychedelia in the Quiet Centre. 25.02. - 12.04.2006.
Atmiņas par Itāliju. 05.06. - 20.08.2007., Memories of Italy. 05.06. - 20.08.2007.
Kristaps Ģelzis. Home Video. 10.12.2008. - 30.01.2009., Kristaps Ģelzis. Home Video. 10.12.2008. - 30.01.2009.
Kristīne Kursiša. Ārpus kontroles. 26.09 - 22.10. 2009., Kristīne Kursiša. Out Of Control. 26.09 - 22.10. 2009.
Mūsu laika ikonas. 27.10. - 14.12.2009., Contemporary Icons. 27.10. - 14.12.2009.
ARCOmadrid 2010. Gints Gabrans. 17 - 21.02. 2010., ARCOmadrid 2010. Gints Gabrans. 17 - 21.02.2010.
Jānis Blanks. Personālizstāde. 27.03. - 30.04.2010., Jānis Blanks. Solo show. 27.03. - 30.04.2010.
Kristians Brekte. Rīgas madonnas. 25.10. - 17.12.2010., Kristians Brekte. The Madonnas of Riga. 25.10. – 17.12. 2010.
Otto Zitmanis. Otto dusmas. 14.01. - 01.03.2011., Otto Zitmanis. Otto`s Anger. 14.01. - 01.03.2011.
Gints Gabrans. Asinsgaisma. 8.03. - 22.04.2011., Gints Gabrans. Bloodlight. 8.03. - 22.04.2011.
Ivars Drulle. Balstīts uz patiesiem notikumiem. 27.04 - 10.06.2011., Ivars Drulle. Based on True Stories. 27.04. - 10.06.2011.
Zenta Logina. Constellation. 11.07. - 02.09.2011, Zenta Logina. Constellation. 11.07. - 02.09.2011
Ernests Kļaviņš. Karš starp titāniem un rūķīšiem. 28.11. - 02.12.2011 , Ernests Kļaviņš. War Between the Titans and Gnomes
Kristiana Dimitere. Sekulārā rezonanse. 12.12.2011. - 10. 02.2012. , Kristiana Dimitere. Secular Resonance . 12.12.2011. - 10. 02.2012.
Verners Lazdāns. Nativus. 15.02. - 23.03. 2012., Verners Lazdāns. Nativus. 15.02. - 23.03. 2012.
Kristians Brekte. Absolūtais ļaunums. 2.04. - 17.05.2012. , Kristians Brekte. Absolute evil. 2.04. - 17.05.2012.
Krišs Salmanis. Uzticēšanās trauslums. 28.05. - 27.07.2012., Krišs Salmanis. The fragility of trust. 28.05. - 27.07.2012.
Andris Breže. Miera Dzīve . 5.10.2012 - 09.01.2013, Andris Breže. A Life of Peace.5.10.2012 - 09.01.2013
Daiga Krūze. Slēpnis. 11. 02. - 02. 04. 2013., Daiga Kruze. Hideout. 11. 02. - 02. 04. 2013.
Kristians Brekte. 15.04. - 17.05.2013., Kristians Brekte. 15.04. - 17.05.2013.
Ivars Poikāns 9.09-8.11.2013, Ivars Poikāns 9.09-8.11.2013
Ivars Drulle. Jums tūlīt atlaidīs . 22.11.2013. - 24.01.2014., Ivars Drulle. You’ll be pardoned forthwith . 22.11.2013. - 24.01.2014.
Reinis Virtmanis. Nemiegs. 3.02.-7.03.2014, Reinis Virtmanis. Dis-sleeping. 3.02.-7.03.2014
Verners Lazdāns. 14.03. - 11.04.2014, Verners Lazdans. 14.03. - 11.04.2014
Andris Eglītis. Netīrais Modernisms. 6.05.-6.06.2014., Andris Eglitis. Dirty Modernism. 6.05.-6.06.2014.
Molekulārās Dzīves Metamorfozes. 20.06.-15.08.2014, Metamorphoses of Molecular Life. 20.06.-15.08.2014
Kaspars Zariņš. Bez norādēm. 8.09 – 31.10. 2014, Kaspars Zariņš. Without guidance. 8.09 – 31.10. 2014
Kristians Brekte. Beigts nav miris. 24.11.2014 - 09.01. 2015, Kristians Brekte. Dead Ain`t Gone. 24.11.2014 - 09.01. 2015
Ernests Kļaviņš. Nirējs. 19.01. – 17.02. 2015, Ernests Kļaviņš. Diver. 19.01. – 17.02. 2015
Aija Zariņa. RA i nis. 26.02. - 20.03. 2015, Aija Zariņa. RA i nis. 26.02. - 20.03. 2015
Popper Magazine. Virs zemes. 27.04. - 10.04. 2015., Popper Magazine. Above the Ground. 27.04. - 10.04. 2015.
Andris Breže, Krišs Salmanis. 05.05 - 05.06. 2015., Andris Breže, Krišs Salmanis. 05.05 - 05.06. 2015.
Māra Brīvere. Zilās vēnas. 22.06. - 24.07.2015, Māra Brīvere. Blue veins. 22.06.24.07.2015.
Art, when represented and interpreted in accordance with its depth and scope, is in demand.
The idea and concept of Alma Gallery is built on stable foundations, acquired over many years of professional
activity. The founders of the gallery – artist Astrīda Riņķe and art historian Ilva Krišane.
The gallery was founded in 2005 with the goal of promoting new Latvian contemporary art.
Its characteristic mentality is not exotically vived with a view to being identified in the moment,
but instead reserved in Nordic manner,with a slow sense of time; a poetically conditional – value
in the dialectic between local and global.
Alma Gallery is located in the so-called Quiet Centre of Riga in an Art Nouveau building at 1 Rūpniecības Street.
It is open to visitors on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 12 pm – 6 pm; appointments
can be arranged for any other time by calling +371 67322311 or +371 29155572.
Perceiving the gallerists` ideas on the tasks, purposes, intentions and mission of the gallery it would
appear a "next generation" gallery has been born in Riga. So much idealism on the one hand, so many
constructive observations on the other.
/ Inga Šteimane, Editor-in-Chief of the Kultūras Forums weekly./
Opening Hours 12 pm – 18 pm
1 Rupniecibas Street
|| +371 67322311
|| +371 29155572
|| +371 67274755
7.09 – 11.11. 2015
SARMĪTE MĀLIŅA / KRISTAPS KALNS
How stirring (chilling) it is to touch a clean surface, white page or new work…
This utterly innocent and fragile gesture has been carried over by the hands of artists Sarmīte Māliņa and Kristaps Kalns to objects bordering on relics. Smoothly polished wooden surfaces – century old oak and birch wood boards (the most genuine embodiment of the past) – lie concealed behind a suffusion of varnished black.
Like icons, these are not paintings. Symbols, melted in contrasting whiteness and absolutely purified, inform us of a return... To a time when there is not yet (no longer) any fear.
In these touches, ostensibly simple, yet rendered with utmost care in freehand and with a number one brush, one can recognize images bursting with nostalgia. The concentrate of childhood.
Beyond the horizon, the radiant arc of the setting sun, a star, a dog tied to a hut, a pussy willow branch, a birch trunk and silhouettes of waves carried by birds and the sea. Also here is child’s hand outlined with a fine line! And on its finger is a ring.
There is nothing naïve in these (one yearns to say) icons and stunningly accomplished massive wood creations. This is a bitter realization. Inner freedom (to be, to be disappointed, to believe, to succumb) slowly suffocating in a body entombed by the years. Like the tiniest fledging swallow in a nest tightly meshed with branches.
The artists have worked together for over a decade, during which time their visual language has been pared down to a certain form of expression. A fine sadness, the presence of timelessness, understated romanticism and heightened sensitivity.
Blinding light, paralyzing darkness – the reflection of the whiteness of a bulb on black surfaces – thus, Sarmīte Māliņa and Kristaps Kalns (using codes born of collective experience) elevate the viewer above the mundane. As far as they are concerned, everything is real, just like the inevitability of birth and death. Like love.
Since 2003 both have had several personal exhibitions, of which the most recent “Be Patient” took place in early 2012 at the Latvian National Museum of Art’s (LNMA) “Arsenāls” exhibition hall and was nominated for the highest award in Latvian art: the Purvītis Prize.
Their works can be found in the LNMA collection, ABLV Bank collection for the nascent Latvian Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as in private collections in Latvia and overseas.