This series of paintings by Pende was created from 2016 through 2018 in Dubrovnik, his seaside hometown, which has a rich history and architecture dating back to the middle ages. Pende works in the expansive tradition of the renaissance man, freewheeling in his influences. His photographic memory unconsciously (or perhaps consciously) flirts with the idea of the “golden hour”—that moment just after sunrise or before sunset that blankets the landscape in a warm glow. The palettes and scale of the compositions impart a feeling of being outdoors, watching the sun beginning to set as the hues change to warmer colors, then cooler and eventually, into darkness. His paintings are structured compositions with controlled lines and episodes of gestural brushwork echoing the view of landscape and architecture.
Pende raises the question of whether the evolution of abstract art—like the evolution of modern art more broadly—is a series of deliberate responses to the experience of life in the 20th and 21st centuries? Or, is it a matter of how we perceive our surroundings and nature within the context of modern society, reflected back in the artworks? Abstract art offers a particularly unique opportunity to think about these phenomena in that it is evoked by visual stimuli that are not object-related and, therefore, remote from the usual daily visual experiences. This in turn raises the question of how one defines a visual stimulus?
Many of these paintings exhibit an undeniable influence of both natural and built environments in their composition, familiar spaces used to define and locate a place in the world. The compositions become a framework for experiencing the forces of nature, such as the sun rising and setting, the waves of the ocean and gusts of wind. Yet, Pende’s paintings are influenced by many other subliminal stimuli ranging from sounds, memory and even imagination, as the paintings can also evoke ghostly figures whose shapes are difficult to define. Each painting, with its specific series of lines, colors and organized shapes resonates with our perceptions of musical composition, giving the paintings an internal structure akin to rhythms and beats. And then, sometimes, as the painting begins to offer a declaration of how to see and interpret the composition, Pende pulls back on his defining and clarifying the content to maintain a mysterious relationship to the space and leaving it to the viewer’s interpretation.
About Izvor Pende:
Izvor Pende was born and raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He began studying sculpture in 1996 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. Pende then moved to study painting at Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, receiving his degree in 2002 under Professors Karin Rissa and Markus Lupertz and his masters degree in 2005.
Since 2003, Pende has exhibited his artworks in solo and group exhibitions in Bonn, Munich, Hannover, Dusseldorf and Hamburg in Germany, Eupen, Belgium and Chicago, Illinois. In 2005 he won the Ikob – Kunstpreis Nomination and in 2008 the BAT (British American Tobacco) award. In 2010 he had his first solo exhibition in Bacva gallery, Croatian Association of Artists, Zagreb, Croatia. He also had solo exhibitions in 2010 at the Art Workshop Lazareti, Dubrovnik, Croatia, in 2011 at Glyptotheque, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb, Croatia, and in 2014 at the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
More recently, Pende has focused on his move to pure abstraction, turning away from his early focus on representational paintings. In 2016, Pende exhibited his abstract works at the Art Workshop Lazareti, Dubrovnik. He started an artistic dialogue with the German painter Daniel Richter in the project, “Swimming Together”, where the two painters exhibited their paintings along-side one another at several museums and institutions, including in 2017 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Split, Croatia and in 2018 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka. Currently, Pende is representing the City of Dubrovnik for the first time during the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale in the Tesa space at the Arsenal, along with Dubrovnik artists Slaven Tolj and Marijana Pende