The Opening of Tanja Nikolajević Veselinov’s Eshibition “I Was Here, Visible And Invisible”                                                                                                   

Tanja Nikolajević-Veselinov (Belgrade, 1959) is a painter expressing herself through the ancient techniques of oil painting and watercolor, which are mutually related (there are painters who work with the watercolor diluted oil color as well). The watercolor technique has had a significant influence on her paintings with a denser color application in that regard, instead of multilayered renaissance glaze, this artist goes in the opposite direction of color dilution, softening the hard scene appearance and dissolution of the whole scene. She understands nature philosophically, in the spirit of Heraclit, as a constant change, a river which you cannot enter twice because the only constant and reliable thing is change itself. That exact painting approach ideally matches landscape painting, which is her primary focus. Certain academics claim (and are not alone in that claim) that the most difficult representation in a painting is that of a human body, because of its anatomical complexity, incarnation and reduction, however – the nude and the human figure can be portrayed by using a model. Đorđe Kadijević, the last renowned Serbian art critic, once noted that the most difficult task is that of depicting a landscape. Everything is constantly changing on a landscape, it’s difficult to frame it, and if anyone says that landscape painters skillfully removed what bothered them, excluded some tree, or a bridge, or added a human figure, the same can be applied to the human figure painters, Ingres made his models more beautiful and Delacroix used photography. In that regard, Tanja is not searching for a direct and precise description of the depicted, she is not a hyperrealist (for many, especially Russian masters, hyperrealism is the most vulgar art form), instead, she lets the charms of landscape, feelings awoken directly from nature, lead her. That precisely is what makes her art similar to that of Far Eastern artists, which not only appreciate landscapes the most out of all motifs, but they respect the most those landscape painters who are able to show, as they put it “a landscape of 10,000 miles” on a small space. She is akin to the Orientals in her airiness of the painted scenes, which she achieves not only by rich paint, and surface full of liquid trail, but with forms and colors which breathe, which are not densely packed together and do interpret landscape through an intermediary depiction, rather than a straightforward portrayal. This artist seeks the atmosphere and psychology of the landscapes she paints, the associative tone of the scene, and a general tone that will immediately suggest the sensitivity of the portrayed. She is more an imaginative individual who paints based on impression and imagination, who interprets and revalues the landscape, rather than a painter who realistically imitates reality. Landscape is a very old apparition in the Western and Eastern art corpus, it persists since the ancient Greek and Roman painting in Europe, the aesthetics of landscapes have been explored in artistic communities a long time ago, however, Tanja Nikolajević-Veselinov succeeds to breathe a new life into this old form. She invests a significant amount of knowledge of realistic painting in it, she redefines it with abstract influence, free form or expressionism, which is not often seen and is indeed original. The starting point is, therefore, always in precise and detailed observation, and the endpoint is in the deeply sensed, experienced and free. She knows of empathy (as Westerners define the Serbian idea of shared feeling), and of painting as a source of feelings, suspicions and visions. Her unusual landscapes represent an artist who is cultivated in such a way that when a painting has in its sight the entirety of the newer landscaping history, she is aiming to take a creative attitude towards heritage and give it her own authentic contribution to the traditional thematic. She is a painter who equally values both old and new strategies of conquering a landscape painting, from academic knowledge of painting by plans, in layers and with an airy perspective, to employing a dripping paint experience from the repertoire of Max Ernst and Jackson Pollock, i.e. the New York School of Abstract Expressionism. Here is a painter who has succeeded in solving the enigma of the old and the new, that is to say, the eternally precious artistry.                                                                                                   

Dejan Đorić

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