Science and art come together under the inventive hand of GeorgII Uvs in Full Circle: The Beauty of Inevitability.
A student of geology gone explorer of the fine arts, his vibrant work reflects the relationship between fields many a time introduced as strangers to one another.
The common ground where they meet is chance – the ultimate, the inevitable binding/bending master.
Curated and produced by Eva McGaw and Tatiana Palinkas, Uvs first solo exhibition in the UK is composed of four series of oil paintings. These are the result of a practice the artist has been developing and refining for decades, compositions that initially appear to be consequence of an inspiring flair but then reveal thorough and exhaustive devising.
Playing with different levels of viscosity and liquidity, as well as ultraviolet reactive pigments, Uvs manipulates the paint from underneath the canvas, having no actual contact with it. Though the artist leads, whether by using tools of his invention or by simply holding the canvas and directing the trail of paint, the dance that follows has a rhythm that transcends him. As the layers dry out, sometimes taking up to four years due to various levels of viscosity, texture mutates under heat, light and gravity.
The collision between art and nature, the key to Uvs’ artistic vision, then happens, the pieces interacting with the environment, with chance, and becoming.
The artist says: “It is a beauty that is full of secrets, containing certain mysteries but that are transitory and therefore finite. A beauty that consists of many layers, each one offering a different vision to the viewers based on their personal experiences, knowledge and perception of life and changes.”
These beautifully detailed paintings which were created in Malta between 2014 and 2017 using the artistic language closest to the artist’s heart and I was lucky enough to be able to experience them at the Saatchi Gallery on its final day - 3rd February 2019.
The explosive colors of these canvases, combined with the abstract, yet highly evocative, shapes that take form on the surface, bring us into a natural dream-like landscape. In case the visual impact was not immersive enough, the title will help transport yourself into the artist’s mind-maps. Entitled ‘Mesozoic’, ‘Genesis’, ‘Code’ and ‘Wings’, the works symbolise an immersive panorama of the cycles of life.
Drawing on his scientific background, the artist offers the viewer a journey from the Mesozoic era, to Genesis and the creation of life, to the codes that embody intellectual development and knowledge, and, finally, to Wings, which reveals the return to a state of unfettered liberation and freedom. Through his fascination with mathematics, Uvs gives meaning to arithmetic as ‘Renaissance’, algebra as ‘Post- Impressionism’ and to high mathematics as ‘Abstraction’.
This fusion of scientific pursuit and artistic imagination has led Uvs to experiment with different single pigments and mixed ultraviolet reactive pigments. In doing so, he has pioneered a new approach to abstract art, a process that brings phenomenal significance and intense substance to his ever-changing works. The ultraviolet reactive pigments he uses to produce his large scale abstractions further create this enrapturing effects.
Uvs’ artistic practice has been developed and refined over four decades. His vibrant compositions appear to be created instinctively yet are, paradoxically, meticulously planned. Paint is poured onto un-stretched canvases laid horizontally on the studio floor.
Uvs makes no direct contact with the paint but manipulates it with different tools from behind. Once his compositional objectives are achieved, he introduces an element of chance, allowing the artwork to interact with the environment. It is this technique, above all else, that defines Uvs’ artistic vision: the collision of art and nature.
The assembled works bring to mind geological formations in some and in others, galactic explosions. When the works are exposed to ultraviolet light, as they will be for this exhibition, they reflect the turbulence of the artist’s emotions and energy through the vivid colours and the physical action of his working process.