Jānis Blanks :
Jānis Blanks is one of the most unpredictable and mystical artists of his generation, who dwells in his own space, untouched by external circumstances and events. The artist paints deeply and solemnly, unhurriedly relishing the time devoted to the process of painting.
The sources of Jānis Blanks’ inspiration are all around us – in nature, in human beings, in incidental intriguing events and dreams, which are converted into surrealist works of art through the force of the artist`s imagination.
Andris Breže : ANDRIS BREŽE
Andris Breže (1958) is a conceptual artist who values reflection highly. His installations are like the final touch on a solid and careful process of thought. Nineteen years passed between his last two solo exhibitions (1993 and 2012), and he explains the great interval between them by saying that it’s sometimes possible to get by without arduous creative struggles: “I’ve already worked out all of the nagging questions in my mind.”
Breže graduated from the Department of Design at the Art Academy of Latvia (1984) and belongs to the generation of artists who experienced its first public coming-out at the Art Days in Riga during the 1980s. This annual event was like an intoxicating breath of fresh air for Latvia in the final years of the stagnating Soviet empire. The art performances and events throughout the city were like a drug for the recent art graduates. Breže created super large graphics, which are a unique phenomenon in the Latvian art world. These arose thanks to a number of coincidences and conditions, including access to very large pieces of paper. However, as the 1990s approached, Breže turned most of his attention to installations.
“Often the most exciting thing about installation art is overcoming the material. The small box that rotates in your head needs to be “pulled together” with the large object. A certain excitement emerges, because unforeseen incidents are inevitable and they are like adventures,” said Breže in a 2012 interview with Arterritory.com.
“Refined”, “witty”, and “poetic” are just some of the words used to describe Breže. When analysing the Kvalitāte ‘92 [Quality ‘92] group exhibition in 1992, Vilhelms Šmits wrote in the Diena newspaper that “Andris Breže – the best artist – is at the centre of the exhibition. He is also the most mysterious, but that’s the way he wants to be.” Breže has held on to this mystery ever since the 1980s by developing an alter ego, the poet Žebers. However, he keeps these two fields – poetry and art – separate and considers them to be two very different ways of thinking. Poetry is a narrative, while art must avoid narration.
Breže has been nominated for the Purvītis Award for his exhibition Miera dzīve [Life of Peace] at the Alma gallery in Riga in 2012.
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.
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 :
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 : 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.
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."
Reinis Virtmanis :
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.
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 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
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
14 March – 17 April 2014
Poet and ploughman – a contrast mentioned in one of the works by George Sand* these days no longer seems to be the incompatible division between “life in primitivism” and “life in practicality”(Sand’s notions) created in the age of romanticism. It can be useful in understanding the works of Verners Lazdāns. The superiority of nature, the imagination and creative freedom over culture, the mechanical, reason and laws, has been embodied both in the exhibition works and the artist’s approach. During the creation of his works he seems to echo the romantic myth of the artist as drawing inspiration from the wild yet fascinating power of nature in the attempt to unravel its “noble secrets” and aestheticise the uncontrollable elements.
The presence of organic forms is one of Verners Lazdāns’ motifs although, as we can see, they are not naïve flower compositions, rushing waterfalls or something similar that we have become used to perceiving as examples of the “beauty” of nature. We should rather say that the artist reveals the process of creation and birth, which is quite a long way from the aestheticised forms of creativity. Instead of a sparkling spring, recalling Bruce Nauman’s famous work “Self-portrait as a fountain”, there is kneaded clay which still preserves the touch of the artist’s rough and firm hands. The robust character of the works seems to confirm that writing poetry in some sense really could be compared to ploughing furrows if we can free ourselves from the view of art as something a priori sophisticated and ethereal. Mud, just ploughed earth, the power with which the artist works on the material – these are metaphors that, incidentally, also contain erotic meaning, which, although not forming the “overtone” of the exhibition, is present nevertheless.
Interestingly, the artist admits that his sources of inspiration have been photographs by the Hubble Space Telescope, the stalactite caves in the Crimea and various other natural formations. (We should mention that the list was compiled before the current political developments.) In the photographs from outer space we can see undefined forms without clear anthropomorphic characteristics and they continue to develop in the artist’s works too – in his canvases and sculptures. The rejection of the human scale is further reinforced by the fact that in both cases – in the images taken from the cosmos and in the stalactite caves that have been formed over thousands of years – the human view is made insignificant; the man-made yardstick for the understanding of time and space ceases to work here.
Jana Kukaine, art critic
The work referred to is George Sand, François le Champi Vara Vīksna. 2008.