The Abstract Logic of Dreams
Ezra Krzywokulski
1 – 22 June 2013
Artman Gallery, Caulfield Sth. VIC

Transcript of opening talk by Victor Majzner

 
Ezra’s opening.
Ezra has written the following in his ‘artists statement’ on the gallery’s web site: ” Like the abstract logic of dreams ( that’s where the title of this exhibition is derived from), so are our emotions, tentatively choreographing an idea”. Emotions seem to be his guiding spirits. To him they represent ” a conglomeration of enigmatic small parts, out of our control, breaking the conditioning in our hearts and minds.” He is “accepting chaos as the natural order of things guiding love, loss desire and negation…” What an incerdibly mature, honest and poetic statement. It beautifully encapsulates Ezra as an artist.
Ashley Crawford ( in his introduction to the catalogue) rightly points out that Ezra’s art “doesn’t kneel to the gods of theory and fashion that modern audiences have been taught to accept”. I agree. Ezra’s art deals with emotions deeply felt, fragile dream memories and primal, hormonal needs. This is how artists make sense of the world. This is the stuff of painting. Painting is the most primal, the most visceral of all art forms. Ever since man could dip a finger into coloured mud or hold a piece of burned wood in his hand, he made marks. That initial urge to make a mark, to capture an idea in an image that is both meaningful to the artist and to the context of the times is what continues to motivate painters. This basic, instinctual urge to simply say “I’m here and now” is as important today as it was for early man who felt that urge to cover his body or carve with images. This primal urge is what motivates Ezra’s art.

This deeply felt urge to make art with the most primal of tools – a bit of charcoal and coloured mud that we see in every painting here is unfortunately far removed from the world of art critics – as Ashley Crawford hints at, in his introduction.
I stopped reading art reviews a long time ago but our social media is so pervasive that it’s impossible to escape them. The other day, while trawling of Facebook I came across a shocking review by our own current Age art reviewer, published on the 8th of May 2013.

It reminded me why I stopped reading art reviews in the first place. In that review, he proclaimed that “painting is dead” and he went on to justify his opinion by suggesting that “painting is dead because the most interesting things about painting are being expressed in other media” – in this case by a video artist who was exhibiting at the Centre of Contemporary Photography. What was so mind shattering in this video that made our reviewer so convinced about the death of painting – you may ask?
The artist in the video is filmed pricking with a pin a number of balloons that were filled with paint of different colours and the slow motion camera captures the mass of paint as it explodes out of the balloons in mid air. The reviewer refers to it as a kind of “action painting”. He obviously doesn’t watch television commercials where such banal slow camera action has been a cliche for years!
In my view there is a chasm of disconnect between the ‘primal need’ to make images that inspires painters like Ezra and this strange pronouncement about the death of painting. Art critics have been obsessed with killing of Painting ever since the invention of photography in the early 1800’s. Ever since then, every few years the ‘death’ of painting is pronounced. Even during our recent past, apart from this current proclamation, on at least two previous occasions that I can recall, painting was declared dead: the the beginnings of Conceptual Art in the 1960’s where the idea was the predominant factor of that art practice, not imagery or technique therefore painting was deemed no longer valid, and the other time with the emergence of Post Modernism where appropriation, mixed media, Photography, Video and Performance Art became the ‘flavour of the moment’, proclaiming the end of history as we knew it and therefore painting being anchored in history, once again seemed to have has its day. For some reason it’s only Painting out of all the arts that comes in for this mortal treatment.
Such art critics, in my view are the morticians and undertakers of art and our current art reviewer from the Age (God bless him) has become yet another eager pole bearer, rushing to the funeral of Painting. Art critics have been trying to put Painting away into a historical grave for two centuries but what they don’t seem to realise is that as long as we will remain human, our primal urge to make marks is so basic and resilient that it can never die!

I’m sure that you Ezra are totally oblivious to these sorts of art political goings on.
You are unashamedly busy celebrating the art of painting.
Artists are birth giver, creators of profound ideas and images that provoke, challenge and question who, what and why we are who we are as a species. Ezra told me that he loved to draw ever since he can remember. Drawing is one avenue that allows him to make sense of the world. But there is much more to Ezra and he is very much of his time. He is a skater, an animator, loves computer games, is very concerned about what is happening to our environment, loves heavy metal and other kinds of music, writes poetry and makes art.
In his art, he is a kind of bower bird – spontaneously collecting from art history, from cartoons, animation, social media, from music books and so on. His art is a kind of collage, made up of texts, images and paint which is sometimes thrown, dragged, brushed and filled in and all of it held together by his strong sense of drawing. In other words he takes what he needs from his cultural and social environment and filters it through his own sensibility as an artist.
There is urgency in his paintings. They seem fast, complex, even contradictory. Nothing is excluded from his paintings.
In these paintings, one can find references to high art as much as to street art, beautiful delicacy as much as earthly grit – all of it has a part to play in Ezra’s ‘abstract logic of dreams’.
This is Ezra’s first solo exhibition. A fabulous achievement but at the same time it’s a nerve wrecking experience for him because, on these walls before us he is absolutely naked, exposed and vulnerable. In these truly felt paintings – he is bearing his soul.

I congratulate Judy Silman and Artman Gallery for staging this exhibition and Ezra I wish you every success.

Victor Majzner     1 June 2013

Dark Liminality
10 – 21 June 2016
Sidespace Gallery, Salamanca Arts Centre Hobart

Transcript of opening talk by Pauline Enright

Liminality
We are constantly chasing time. We say ‘Where has the time gone?’ ‘ I never have enough time’. Yet, we waste time, and fill it with nonsensical, unimportant things. Do we really have any idea what time is?
In Ezra’s world, time is revered. It is explored, penetrated, laid bare. Time is spread out, looked at and felt. The now is not just what we think it is.

In the now we are sure – or are we? The present is what it is. But the present is also fleeting. We barely perceive it – and then it’s gone. Always there is the movement toward the future – but we are never quite there. Liminality is that moment of transition – of hesitation, uncertainty, apprehension, anticipation. It slips by us, flimsy, fragile, unnoticed.
Liminality is a perpetual state in ordinary experience, it is part of the eternal present, the moment we are in, the now. We are always becoming, not finished, never quite reaching the moment we can say ‘this is it now, there is no more.’

Dark Liminality
As we move incessantly from one thing to the next, we do not notice Liminality. It sits in the shadows, unobserved, unacknowledged.
But if we open up the corner of our mind, we might catch a glimpse. We might hold our gaze, just for a moment, and allow the space to open up. Let go. Drop the barriers. Sink Down. In Dark Liminality we are suspended. Time loses its shape. A moment could be an hour, or an hour a moment.
The Dark Night of the Soul, amidst ordinary experience. We may stay with the complete darkness. Or we may open up the world of the unsaid, the feelings that have eluded us, the thoughts we cannot bear.
The love and the yearnings, the pain, oh the pain that we do not want to face, but that is always there.
Dark Liminality is neither good nor bad. It is part of our human experience, and we are the richer for it. From the Darkness, we pass back into the Light. We look at ordinary experience in a different way. We have grown, our vision is wider, our experience deeper.

With great pleasure I declare Ezra’ exhibition ‘Dark Liminiality’ open, and I thank Ezra for the opportunity we all have tonight to share in its beauty, richness and depth.

Dr. Pauline Enright (PhD Philosophy) 2016