Consider Jaanika Talts of Dublin, Ireland, one of those contemporary visual artists empowered by an instinct for classic literary style. As she puts it, “I mostly paint when I feel like I need to write a book (and it happens often) but painting my thoughts and stories on the canvas is so much easier for me.”
Visitors to Talts’ Facebook timeline can see for themselves that the literary company she keeps is one of cross-culture diversity. A range of quotes from such powerhouses as African-American authors Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison to Canada’s as well as Sri Lanka’s Michael Ondaatje and famed American diarist Anais Nin (1903-1977) help to introduce and interpret her generously-shared art. The same literary sensibility is apparent in her 2013 calendar, Camouflages. In it, she quotes the following from English novelist D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930):
“A woman unsatisfied must have luxuries. But a woman who loves a man would sleep on a board.”
And this by American author Cate Tiernan: “Fire is a fragile lover, court her well, neglect her not; her faith is like a misty smoke, her anger is destructive hot.”
Now is a particularly good time for those not already familiar with Talts’ captivating creations to acquaint themselves with her artistry. One reason for doing so is because she is based in Ireland and this is St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Another reason is because this is also Women’s History Month and therefore an appropriate time to acknowledge the endeavors of women artists who themselves are potential history makers.
The Passion in Progress
It is easy to stroll through the luxurious garden of visual surprise that is Jaanika Talts’ creative vision with desire to do nothing more than let your senses feast on the splendor before you. The canvases layered with bold color contrasts, montages of images that create allegorical portraits of individual subjects, and jeweled compositions suitable for royal occasions elevate her chosen mediums and viewers appreciative of the work. As much as this experience of sensualized transcendence satisfies the souls of art lovers, one feels compelled ––as humans often do when confronted with mystery in the form of brilliance–– to claim an even deeper comprehension of the passion in progress.
The body of work by Talts (to which this writer has been exposed thus far) moves elegantly back and forth between two dominant styles, or qualitative techniques, that might be described as emergent expressionism and transformative impressionism. The first should not be confused with “emerging expressionism,” indicating that period of art which revolutionized visual aesthetics during the early 1900s. The emergent expressionism referred to here denotes that aspect of Talts’ more abstract work which reveals an individual personality evolving toward a coherent definition of herself as an artist whose time has come to paint the language of her soul. Those familiar with Anais Nin’s famous quote might recognize the distinction:
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
In the artist’s emergent expressionism paintings, texture often functions much like a painted context, or visualized literary setting, which serves to magnify the very personal statement made through selected colors and objects. The canvas titled Natalie presents one such example with its multicolored quilt-like squares and rectangles, some closed and others unbound, sharp angles, horizontal lines of pure pigment and vertical lines transformed into lyrical swirls and rows of flowers.
Other paintings employ the same seemingly intuitive technique but with different themes and stated intent indicated by the titles. The description of emergent expressionism fits a certain division of Talts’ corpus whether painted canvas or digital art montage because they appear to document stages of becoming: as in fleeting beauty that exists between dream and manifestation, light and shadow, or flesh and spirit. Yet as works of art they are fully matured in and of themselves, as evidenced by works like: Phoenix, The Promise, Niteo, or Last Dance Under the Weeping Willow.
NEXT: Sensualized Transcendence: Editorial and Poem on the Art of Jaanika Talts (part 2 of 2) Transformative Impressionism
co-author of ELEMENTAL The Power of Illuminated Love
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
More on Jaanika Talts and Other Contemporary Artists
- Jaanika Talts Official Website
- Jaanika Talts and New Irish Artists
- Jaanika Talts on Facebook
- Living Art, Living Poetry: Essay on the Second Anniversary of ELEMENTAL
- Lowcountry Artists and Authors Featured in Gullah Christmas Show
- Expanding Legacies of Savannah’s Diaspora Marketplace Part 1
- Phil Starks’ Gaia Exhibit at Savannah State University
- The Gullah Art Genius of Allen Fireall
- Portrait of U.S. Southeast Artist Jerome Meadows