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Ján Chren - recension

The artist is a Slovak living in Moravia, where he had been led by his specialist´s proffession at the construction of the Dukovany nuclear power plant. For many years he has balanced his technical job and business with the development of his own artistic programme in painting and carving. Ján Chren is an autodidact in the area of fine arts. He created his first painting in 1981 - it was a figural work. During several following years, however, he focused both on landscape painting and figural compositions. After chiaroscuro and learning from realistic and impressionist painting Chren soon sets out for his own journey of searching for his own peculiar concept of painting. The milestone on this journey was the legacy of Vincent van Gogh. The paint in the form of beautiful coloured substance applied with a palette knife and figural focus in the painter´s compositions are typical features of Chren´s contemporary work.

Chren is a real expressionist striving to show the maximum dynamics in the depicted scene. For him the visible reality is a way of expressing his own intensive experience of the world and both the drawing and the colour components of the picture serve this goal. The gradation of expression is reached even at the cost of deforming the shapes.

The author finds his motifs in the sphere of music, theatre, circus, folk festivities. Chren is a figural artist and his focus is also reflected by the titles of his paintings: The Passionate Conductor, Musicians, Messalinas, Corrida, Circus, Suitor, Pierrot In Love, Carnival, Accordionist On A Bridge, Arena, Ballet Dancer, Clown, Black Blues, In The Whirl Of

Dance. The author also discovered an artistic theme which in many modifications accompanied the birth of modern painting in the second and the third decades of the twentieth century: capturing movement in the picture. Chren as well tests how inspiring his artistic programme is by interpreting the works of some representatives of the Paris School. For example in the painting Stolen Violinist (after Marc Chagall).

Chiselled sections of the drawing unambiguously determine the colour segments of the composition. Compared to older landscape paintings from the period 15 years ago where the pursuit of creating illusional space can be traced, the contemporary works are different. The painting on canvas itself is preceded by a consistent drawing preparation and precise transposition and enlargement of the detailed linear composition.

Chren has reached dynamic compositions characterized by interwoven curved lines. The lines in his paintings become even a drawn puzzle or sign, a part of which is also the author´s signature.

Lines as a way of expression, clarity of colours, often reduced to a favourite contrast of two complementary colours - blue and orange; these are the characteristic features of Chren´s contemporary work. In several cases the paintings become monochromatic. The author´s method of painting would surely acquit itself well in glass-pane decoration.

A peculiar part of Chren´s work are the woodcuts. In this area, too, the author presents himself as an expressionist who does not strive to depict forms in terms of anatomy, but to reach a maximum expression. His sculptures can be looked at from different angles and have beautiful contours. Among the most frequent themes are again figural topics: Susan Before A Mirror, David and Goliath, Bethlehem. Although Chren claims not to be a sculptor or a woodcarver, in his wood sculptures he proves himself to have a surprising sculptor´s skill and craftsmanship. Unlike his paintings he does not use varied and contrasting colours, the "monochromous polychromy" of his carvings underlines the natural beauty of used woods.

Arnošt Pacola, July 2006

Created by Petr Jiskra - Copyright Ján Chren © 2007