New exhibition by NZ icon artist Milan Mrkusich
New exhibition by New Zealand icon artist Milan Mrkusich
Paintings 2003 - 2004
21 June - 16 July 2005
Sue Crockford Gallery
2 Queen St
Milan Mrkusich was born in Dargaville in 1925 and educated in Auckland. In 1942 Milan took up an apprenticeship in Writing and Pictorial Arts with Neuline Studios, while also attending night courses at Seddon Technical and taking separate life-drawing classes. Though he returned to the commercial art studio after painting full-time for two years, those two years laid the groundwork of his geometric/expressionist painting style.
Milan became a partner in the architectural design firm Brenner Associates in 1949, working as a colour consultant. He also worked on various commissions, among them many stained-glass windows and mosaics.
Using universal geometric forms, such as those discussed in C. G. Jung's Man and his Symbols, he painted Emblems in 1963 and, two years later, the renowned Elements and Four Elements. The series is based on the squared circle, or mandala, motif, of which Jung says that it represents "enlightenment, or human perfection".
In 1968 he embarked on a style which held him captivated till 1976. Initially explored in the Monochromes, the Meta Greys and the Dark Paintings, this style saw the elimination of forms and elements, resulting in what Susan Sontag has referred to as "silent art".
A new direction surfaced in his work with Journey Paintings, some of the largest works he has produced. Representing a consolidation of his practice, these paintings simultaneously mark a new departure: they seem to undermine Milan's long-standing commitment to neutral structures and draw attention to the subjectivity of colour, its openness to the possibilities of interpretation.
Milan Mrkusich has Exhibited throughout New Zealand and internationally in Australia, Asia, America and the United Kingdom. His major public commissions include the large work in coloured enamel on glass for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa. In1997 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to painting. In 2003 he was named one of ten Inaugural Living Icon Artists, of New Zealand awarded by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand.