‘’I remove all direct references to houses and the horizon line. The landscape becomes a non-character — almost Biblical.’’
Although Peter Krausz’s work is both landscapes and portraits, he is renowned for his expressionistic impressions of the land. But they too can be referred to as ‘portraits’. Reflecting on the origin of the word – from the 16th French portraire – his scenes portray a moment; they document. And what amazing portraits they are. His luminous landscapes are an amalgam of images; a synthesis of photos from his journeys. ‘’When I feel an emotion, I take a picture. The camera is my eyesight.’’ His unerring sense of contemplation leads to a compilation. His colourful combinations of rolling hills and massive mountains refer not to any reality. His countrysides are perfected in his studio, where he lays out his odes to his beloved Mediterranean fields; the silent cypress sentinels and the olive groves of Sicily. The lyrical light of those lands shines through. There is no human presence in his wheat-toned, harvest-hued works. ‘’I remove all direct references to houses and the horizon line. The landscape becomes a non- character – almost Biblical,’’ he explained. Krausz’ sense of a universal land speaks to everyman. Each section of a scene is delineated by an area of colour. His game of zones sparks a link as we recall our own similar meadow or a tree from childhood. This recall from the canyons of our minds is enriched by a persuasive perspective. The far-away effectively draws us into a dialogue. Although there is no sky nor Constable clouds, the eye is drawn by linear lines of trees or by a sense of slope. Above all, there is a sense of the universal in his rich, almost Romantic, scenes. ‘’The memory of a landscape has a sense of dust; the dust of history.’’ The artist manages to synthesize the continuum, and in it there is peace that passes the understanding.
Creating large format works, usually in oil, he calls forth the earth with its ochre tones punctuated with bushes and forests, as well as tiny solitary trees. ‘’I have always loved very small landscapes, for example the one behind the Mona Lisa. These scenes were treated with love.’’ As are the powerful planes in Peter Krausz’ paintings. Vibrating with the luminous light of the Tuscan sun, they are the ideal of an idea: the idea of an ideal. Their lush, sensual stanzas sing of nature. They are an Arcadian hideaway brought to life; panoramas in the genre of landscape painting. But they are a far cry from that categorized description.
Krausz’ personal history has crystallized his art, taking it from memories of fleeing Romania and later visiting the Berlin Wall and Check Point Charlie. Although he has lived through, as well as visited, conflicting frontiers, he communicates a sense of wonder not of woe. ‘’As a child, I stayed with my grandparents. We knew all the flowers, plants and birds. This knowledge has stayed with me like a treasure. I take pleasure in using all these memories. A colour reminds me of my childhood, and it moves me.’’ His art is not only full of memories. It is exploding with curiousity and exploration. He experiments with tar, asphalt and sand to increase the texture of his paintings. He uses Google Earth to ‘see’ the ‘’dead zones and borders’’ that can only be viewed by satellite. Dividing lines become his destination. His use of today’s technology led him to his No Buffer Zone project, walking the streets of Cyprus on both sides of the barbed wire border, documenting views with photographs. Krausz is constantly inquiring. His latest work queries quarries, showing the destruction of once-majestic spaces. Valleys and meadows once covered by the constancy of nature stand solitary and bereft. Although a lament, the landscape is still conveyed with his own fertile vocabulary.
Generations of memories lie under Peter Krausz’ art. Their evocations draw us closer to his powerful portraits of landscapes – of life and time itself – echoing Swiss philosopher Henri Frederic Amiel: ‘’Any landscape is a condition of the spirit.’’ A fitting description for the Renaissance man that is the artist Peter Krausz, equally inspired by Dante, art history and computer software. l
A Romanian-born Canadian artist, Peter Krausz, RCA, teaches perspective drawing to architects, and visual arts for art historians at the Université de Montréal where he is a tenured professor. He is represented by Galerie de Bellefeuille (Montreal), Mira Godard (Toronto) and Forum (New York). His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Europe and North America.
Peter Krausz is represented by Galerie de Bellefeuille (Westmount).