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About Artist

Vlastimil Tetiva

theoretician of fine art

Richard Konvička's work was and is up-to-date and is not easy to understand. He has his informed interprets (e.g. Richard Drury, Ivan Neumann), who have written the most important about it. Probably, even I can join them. Every new attempt at his ”portrait“ cannot avoid once already written. The author paints and also destructs. This seemingly ironic expression gives a true picture of the art program his work, points out the essential expressionistic and content components of his paintings, where sensuality softens (disturbs?, corrects?) the mind. Konvička´s art is stormy, stimulates, provokes; but it is also kind and especially human to be always contemporary in all these levels.

His art attacks human senses and provides also testimony about his own turbulent spirit, which is too open for the surrounding world. Richard Konvička belongs to a relatively small group of artists, who are not afraid to get down searching for the new ways of art expression. It is historically nothing new that many soon used all the optimism of their Prometheus energy and integrated into the ”middle“ classic stream in art. Others have fallen through the professional routine and became uncreative epigones of their idols. Only a few remained and focused their attention on the search in themselves, with their own eyes, opinions and life. From their family comes also Richard Konvička, direct by nature, lustily tempered, robust (by art, not by his fi gure) painter.

Richard Drury

theoretician of fine art

Richard Konvička's domain is the story in which man faces up to himself in confrontation with the razor edges of the city. The artist's statement, his most personal feelings, are materialised in a small group of symbolic forms that envelop the pictorial space as the record of a hypersensitive psyche in the disruptive context of its being.

Konvička soak up impulses provided above all by roaming through the city and night. Unexpected, almost unreal perceptions, forbidden pleasures and savoured fear play a key role. Konvička's pictures represent fragments of specific experiences that mingle with a broader structure of repeated motifs relating to the unifying thread of his situations in life. The harshness of colour and form that pervades his work ultimately stems from the uncompromising character of someone who feels the need to fully explore the entire range of his creative outlook, to extremes if necessary.

Night by the Sea

Ivan Neumann

theoretician of fine art

Right at that time of night, it is as though the world has become one complete unit, a time-space continuum. As if the unfathomable ocean has changed places with the universe - the universe had become the sea and boundaries cease to exist. Perhaps here, as if man has no space, no task, no function, he is superfluous in this game of the universe.

In spite of this, he remains in the picture, like the centre of the action, perhaps even its reason. In the middle of night, the vertical lines of figures reveal that the universe is really the way it is, because someone is watching it. And the universe is this way in order that it may have such a witness who will gaze at it in astonishment. It is very fragile, vulnerable, unstable, yet unguided by an uncertainty and a determination. A determination to understand. To understand where and how it was created. And in the middle of the night, when it is perceived by senses other than the sense of sight – the sense that is always cluttered with distractions of the visual sensations of everyday life. It is vital to understand the night at sea.

The recent pictures and paintings of Richard Konvička reskond to the overwhelming experience of a land-locked inhabitant who has encountered the vastness of the ocean, one who has encountered a place where several great artists have already past. Konvička´s reaction through his painting is genuinely frenzied and empathetic; its results retroactively and newly enlighten and unfold the discerned aspects of his current artistic display. He himself has also created a self-interpretation in a light, new, unusual experience. This occurred when he returned from his residency in the United States and painted “Night Table”, concentrating on one particularly fascinating experience of the metropolis at night, free of the noise of the secondary stories. With this new experience, the night to the big city presses toward a concentration, tearing away veils, unsettling existing certainty. The presentation of civilization is no longer the central theme; it is only a deeper issue in the background.

Without a doubt, Konvička´s residency in the United States was exceptionally significant for the development of his work. He arrived to the United States from a milieu where the tradition of the civilian’s artistic expression had lived, a tradition that was forcibly represented by the avant-garde of the 1940´s. He came from a background where Jan Smetana was his academic teacher and the works of František Hudeček were a strong inspiration to him.

The work of Richard Konvička is most often associated with this tradition of the civilian’s expression of the Czech arts of the 1940´s. Something real. One can generally assume that, through his work, Richard Konvička touches on the problems of man and the discerning techniques of Western civilization. But his starting point is different from that of a modern avant-garde who has not abandoned the fundamental belief, rising from the ideas of the 19th century, about the evidently positive role of the technical and civilizational advancements in the society of man.

Konvička´s own work was not such an optimistically linear, uniquely static perspective of the world viewed from a solitary location in time and place. Nor was his initial independent works that could still be determined as a type of formal communication with the Czech painting tradition that perceptibly revoked the works of the 1940´s. Not even then did the world appear to him merely as stable or transparent, but continued to become friendlier through its development.

Thanks to the latest works by Konvička, both his painting and drawing, one can discover in his artistic expression that the world always appeared somewhat like a process, like an unforeseeable flow and ebb, like a continual threading of stories about man who finds himself in the world through the techniques of a penetrating civilization. Konvička´s newest works, inspired by his residency in Normandy, present powerfully latent qualities, but today they may also be attributes of a technical civilization in his work. Here, the allusion of the creator’s strength of the line, the foundation that he has bulit the world on, imposes itself, leaving an impression of what is visible. Similar to the way the Cucumber Sage perceives them. And this more than the allusion of the tradition of an exhibition by a Czech civilian.

Often geometric in form, as if the sharp construction of Richard Konvička´s picture space was never merely a new age, threeproportioned, freeze-frame of activities taking place in a particular time. His work is rather an arrest of a continuous action that lasts only one second, but expands in all directions. Konvička´s rationally applied spatial construction, through his own apparent precision and stability, are rather fluid however in reality, thanks to the living, nervous means of the painting. Especially in his most recent work, they are a flowing, curving movement of time and space, relating to a game through a fourth dimension. The activity in the space, a quality that has clearly become an activity itself in Konvička´s recent work, is unstoppable and unattainable; no one can be its keeper. In these distinct unattainable attributes, even their secret is concealed. Richard Konvička tries hard to truly understand the space in this ungrasping and way in which human finds himself, refining his means of expression.

Even today, the artist’s painting gesture is frantic and restless. Nonetheless, even in this certain restlessness, he uses the light of colour to construct a picture of an order, an order that is not someone’s static, strongly in given fixed forms, but it is an order of reason and of a sense that is uncovered in the movement of time and space.

Copyright © 2010 Richard Konvička. All rights reserved.


Vlastimil Tetiva (theoretician of fine art) wrote an article about Richard Konvička's work.