Two Seasons

Recent Paintings by Martin Kizur

Upon visiting Martin Kizur’s home studio, it is immediately clear that his life is consumed by his art. Canvases, at various stages of completion, fill the walls of the home. More canvases are stacked against the wall in his studio, a spacious enclosed veranda that gives the illusion of being smaller than it is, if only for the sheer number of paintings in the room.

Art Exhibition previously on at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Townsville precinct, Queensland, Australia.
From Friday 08 May 2009 to Sunday 14 June 2009
Launch Friday 08 May 2009, 7pm

Picnic image

Published by anonymous on Thursday 07 May 2009.
Contact the publisher.

Further along the studio, on a bench beside his easel, his acrylics are kept wet in a sealed palette. There is no point putting them back in the bottle – Kizur would be using them again too soon anyway.

It was also immediately clear that I had found the answer to my first question for Martin – a question I didn’t need to ask. In fact, I hadn’t even made it inside the house and I was struck by the beauty of the North Ward location. All of a sudden it became quite obvious how an artist could remain constantly inspired by the tropical lifestyle. The warm light, coupled with my escape from the office, had quickly lifted my spirits, and I could picture myself filling days painting such beautiful surrounds. This was life. Maintaining inspiration here would be easy. Upon reflection, it also became obvious that my first conclusion – that Kizur’s life was consumed by art – was reversed. Indeed, it was his art that was consumed by his life.

It is this optimism I felt, and that others feel upon viewing his work, that is most striking about the paintings in Two Seasons, and of Kizur’s paintings in general. Since moving from Melbourne with his family in 1998, Martin has openly celebrated the nature of the tropics, and encouraged others to do likewise. It has provided inspiration for three previous exhibitions held at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery; Fruit of the Tropics 2003, Jewels from the Sea 2004, and Paintings from the series Corals 2005. Two Seasons, the culmination of two years painting, celebrates this lifestyle in a broader sense, with Kizur drawing inspiration from every sight, sound or smell.

The paintings displayed in Two Seasons also make use of a vibrant palette, further adding to the optimistic nature of the works. All colours are utilised by the artist as he believes, “every colour is beautiful”. Kizur plans his works in scrupulous detail, as evidenced by the appearance of ease achieved. This can sometimes fool the untrained eye into thinking the selection of colours is indiscriminate. However, Kizur spends a great deal of time developing a work, and decisions are not simply made on a whim. This includes colour choice, but is particularly evident in the planning of composition.

In his studio, amongst the canvases ‘still to be completed’, are many that remain untouched by paint, but have still been carefully worked with a grid, a developed sketch, and are accompanied by the countless painted studies on paper that inform the compositional choices he makes. It is these studies, the raw reactions he has had to his tropical surroundings that guide the composition, and dictate how Kizur will approach the painting.

As it is, Kizur approaches a painting in one of two ways, “I always have two options: to follow visual information directly from outside or capture my reaction and feelings in that particular situation.” In working in these two very distinct ways Kizur produces works of varying levels of abstraction, from the easily recognisable, such as (fruit and vase image title), to more selective realistic works (flower/garden/chair painting title), the works that have recognisable elements, such as the fragmented work (half lighthouse title), or stylised (palm tree top left corner of canvas title), all the way through to works of more sensory or emotional response than visual reproduction, such as (last image in slide show title).

Kizur’s early artistic training as a printmaker have also heavily influenced his painting – though it is his early training as a printmaker that also led him to become a painter. The methodical planning of the image is akin to the preparation and planning of a print – where mistakes are not so easily covered. The fragmented nature of some of the images, such as (plate,cutlery, limes image title, and image after it in slideshow title) also bares some resemblance to a collage. This is mostly interesting to as during his time as a printmaker, Kizur would do prep work primarily as collages – or paintings, and it gives some indication as to his artistic progression.

Also of significance in Kizur’s progression, and the development of his paintings, is his European background. Born in Yugoslavia in 1957, and gaining his Master of Arts in 1985, Kizur has seen the art industry from most angles – participating in both solo and group shows, working for galleries, and teaching whilst living in Europe. He has travelled Europe extensively, with a desire to learn as much as possible about art history. This experience has fuelled a great interest in art periods, particularly of the 20th century, that he sees as being non-conclusive. His work, though inspired by and responding to his now tropical home, is also heavily influenced by this knowledge of 20th century art periods. It seeps through in his compositional arrangements, and in his brushstrokes, most obvious in works such as (boats tied to buoy work title). Kizur believes in borrowing from the past: “Periods are not finished; artists have the right to revisit”.

All the planning and all the knowledge are aimed at achieving one thing for Kizur: to create high quality paintings, paintings that viewers will enjoy. This aim may sound uncomplicated, but is probably the most ambitious an artist can be. And it is through this approach that his abstract works become accessible to a wider audience. He places most importance on the quality of the painting, rather than creating what he calls “second hand art”, whereby conveying a message or undertaking an investigation takes precedence. He also believes the viewer should be allowed a more sustained interest in the painting and remain interested in the work long after the initial viewing, and in achieving this that the artist should never “put the last stroke”. Through this, he wishes for the paintings to always appear “fresh”.

And Two Seasons is just this – a fresh look at the tropics, something we can all enjoy.


Perc Tucker Regional Gallery
Cnr Denham St & Flinders Mall