Home: Etobicoke, Ontario
Title: Self-nude with J.J.
Media: Oil on canvas / huile sur toile
Dimensions: 129 x 160 cm
I submit my painting titled “Self-nude with J.J”, oil on canvas, 2009 in application for the Kingston Portrait Award. The work continues my inquiry of the portrait as a mirror of identity. The portrait of my wife in the role of the voyeur reverses the art historical canon of the nude subject, at the same time as it challenges notions of the male and female gaze. For over half of my life, and for most of my professional career, I have explored the figure, the nude, in portraits of myself and of others. Twenty years ago while still living in Sarajevo, and only two years before the outbreak of a devastating ethnic war, I painted my first nude self-portrait. In rendering this oil on canvas I worked consciously against the traditions of the heroic or ideal nude. My self-portrait was a conceptual metaphor for the vulnerability and fragility of the artist, of an individual, when confronted with the premonition of violence and war. Now, twenty years later from the perspective of a man in his 50s, I revisit the imagery of the nude self-portrait. My new paintings are more introspective, with the figure cast as a vessel for an emotional state of being – fragility, weakness, humanness – not caught in the forefront of war, but in the inevitable passages of time.
Male self-nudes are not at all common subjects in the history of painting (notable exeptions are Van Dongen and Lucian Freud -1982 nude and a few drawings by Dürer). Reading recently about Bonnard’s late portraits I found that in 1920, the German critic Paul Westheim introduced a new category in art, naming it SELBST -KUNST(self-art). At the 1995 Venice biennial (themed Identity and Alterity) Jean Clair (who included Bonnard’s self-portraits in the show) wrote in his essay, “What if the 20 century had been more than any other, the century of the self-portrait, not of abstraction?” In this vein, I can call my work Self-nude art.
1984 B.F.AUniversity of Srajevo
1982 M.F.A,University of Belgrade
1998 to 2010 Paul Petro, Toronto
1999 Art Gallery of Peel, Brampton
2005 University Buffalo Anderson Gallery
2007 Kunsthaus Miami, Miami
2007 MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie
2008 VU Photo, Outremont, Montreal
2007 MacMaster Museum of Art, Life and Death of I.D.
2009 Work –Detroit Gallery, Detroit, Migration Show
2004 11th Visual Arts Biennial, Pancevo, Serbia
2001 Concordia University Montreal, Memories et Temoignages
2009 and 2005 Ontario Art Council, $15000
2007 Canada Council for Arts, $17000
2000 and 2008 Paris Studio
2001 and 2003 Grants for Mid Career artist
2001 and 2008 Toronto Art Council-$5000