November 16 – December 16, 2023
Exhibited at Art Gallery (Respublikos str. 3)
„The smell of oil paints and turpentine ushers me into a new field of experiment. My first assignment to the children is gradation in Light or in Darkness. This is where I start – painterly experiments lure me into different directions. Any field of paint tends to turn into a landscape – yet, it seems like I have already parted my ways with it. Is it a graft of my teacher, something inherent in me, or an escape to an idealized realm?
Things take an unpredictable course and lead to something concealed, what needs to be discovered and revealed on the surface of canvas. Something still remains in my imagination, so that it retains its mysterious sphericity or descends, like a dream, into grey thickness. In order to characterize a painting without an image (a void), I borrow a phrase by a woman philosopher: ‘… The man has distanced himself from everything and finally disappeared. Only the light went on and on….’
Everything from the same source
Everything of the same things
My thoughts, strange words
Perfect darkening in a bird’s feather
Darkening of madder lake in a creeper that’s dying
Green turns red – merging together
Repetition in silver
A wish to repeat it in gold
I have already started it by thinking of it so much. Questions of painting know no answers.”
Colourful Expanses by Eglė Gineitytė
The paintings by Eglė Gineitytė (b. 1968) open up swathes of sky and lagoons, sandplains and meadows, forests, olive groves and snowfields. In her canvases, natural landscapes, immersed in fog and rain, illuminated by a midday or setting sun, are transformed into transparent, or thick voids. According to the artist, she seeks visual rendition of primordial nature.
These abstract paintings are born in her studio from the visual and emotional impressions the artist brings from her contemplative observation of nature and her own emotional states stirred by it.
The natural settings in the paintings of the past few years only occasionally feature silhouettes of people or objects testifying to their previous activities. This connects Gineitytė’s recent work to her earlier art. All the characters observing the panoramas have their backs turned to the viewer. This ontological motif of man’s fusion with primordial nature, originally developed by the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich, has been explored by other painters, too. Gineitytė’s Two People (2021) is based on a painting, of the same title, by Edvard Munch, showing man and a woman, far apart from each other frozen on the shore while watching the sea. Gineitytė’s take on these traditional motifs is contemporary and greatly personal. In the painting Last Snow (2022), the figures of a mysterious man dressed in black, just as that of a musician wearing a traditional Scottish kilt in The Bagpiper, are depicted flatly like paper cut-outs. The first figure clings to the snow-covered field as if an ominous shadow falling on its dazzling whiteness, while the second blends into the colours of the background vegetation nearly melding into surroundings. Gineitytė gives an ephemeral character to all the scenes in nature. In most of her recent landscapes, people and even their traces disappear altogether.
Her large canvas In Lithuania –1+1 (2023), includes just a hint of a housing structure, while the main focus is on the grey sky opening through the window pane, covered in a pattern of raindrops. The ashen light creates a mood of gathering dusk, a melancholic calm.
The sense of tranquillity is replaced by a more dramatic mood, oscillating between joy, admiration, sadness and a sense of menace, in her other large and smaller canvases, Shore, The Light of Olive Trees, White Night, Blooms of Blood (2022), Misty Mystery, Two Formats, as well as And the Light Went On and On (2023) being examples. The emotion is communicated mainly by the colours pulsating with light. Gineitytė is blessed with a sense of colour and command of an incredibly rich palette of hue combinations and tonal nuances, rare among contemporary painters.
Coal black, deep dark or sapphire blue, intense and light green, ash grey clash with blood or coral reds, purple, violets, yellows of varying saturation, and with the dazzling colour white. Large planes of colour are punctuated by thicker and thinner lines or dashes of colour. The impulsive in the paintings is always harnessed by compositional balance and static elements.
In all of Gineitytė’s landscapes, even the most abstracted ones, the horizon line also plays a role of importance. This dividing line emerges as an important means in the landscapes by her teacher Ričardas Povilas Vaitiekūnas, in his effort to evoke that elusive Lithuanian quality of the landscape, characterised by special tonal relationships of light-infused greens and the sky. Meadows, fields, rivers and the sky, rendered in broad, spontaneous brushstrokes, in his paintings are separated by the dynamically meandering horizon line. Space is not spread out into depth, but into expanses.
Unlike her teacher, Gineitytė does not look for ways to convey site-specific motifs, colour relationships and topography in her abstracted landscapes. However, there is also a horizon line separating land from sky, only drawn in a straight line. And it is only thanks to this line that her abstractions preserve their associations with views of nature. Space here spreads out evenly in all directions as an image of an infinite universe. The artist emphasises the relativity of this representation of remote distances by introducing a border painted on the edges of the canvas as a reference to the picture frame.
In Gineitytė’s reductive and abstract paintings, the sensual expression of the canvas, paint and the process of painting itself remains important. The thin, almost transparent layer of paint coating, characteristic of all her paintings, dominates here, but at the same time, she pays more and more attention to the alternation of smooth and rough, glossy and matt surfaces. Even the largest canvases are limited by the dimensions of the painter’s own body size and build. The height of the paintings is no more than the height of the painter and the width is no more than her outstretched arms. The painter herself almost physically inserts herself and immerses into the swathes of emptiness of her canvases. The viewer is left to follow the artist with his own imagination.
Exhibition curator and author of the text Dr. Raminta Jurėnaitė
Organisers: Vilnius rotušė, Panevėžys Civic Art Gallery. Project is supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture. Project partner – art gallery „The Room“.