Violence, resilience, recovery.
Artist Zdenko Krtic has firsthand experience dealing with these things, living in Croatia in the early ’90s and witnessing the violent breakup of his native country.
“The civil war in former Yugoslavia, in the heart of Europe traumatized so many people,” Krtic said in an email correspondence.
“Many civilians were killed or injured, cities were destroyed and families were displaced.”
Now an associate professor of art at Auburn University, Krtic said he tries to keep the themes in his work universal.
“These issues — senseless violence, the threat of terrorism, as well as our resiliency and our need to recover are as relevant to our present time, and our own society,” Krtic said. “Through my creative response I try to be inclusive and universal when approaching these themes. Despite tough subjects, the very act of painting is in essence an affirmative act.”
Work by Krtic is being shown at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts in Florence until March 5.
Mary Nicely, program coordinator at the arts center, said Krtic has been on their list of perspective exhibits after Barbara Broach, director of the arts center and museums in Florence, saw his work in the Red Clay Survey at the Huntsville Museum of Art.
“It’s unique,” Nicely said. “We’ve never had an encaustic exhibit for as long as I’ve been here.”
Encaustic painting is the process of melting wax with pigments and applying them on a surface.
Then the wax is fused with heat to make the surface permanent.
Krtic said the medium has a long history that dates back to ancient Greece, but was lost for centuries before being re-discovered by late 20th century artists.
“The main challenge remains on how to use this ancient medium today — not as a throwback to the past but as vital, expressive artistic medium relevant to our aesthetic needs today,” he said.
Krtic said he started working in the encaustic painting medium after developing a serious sensitivity to solvents used in oil painting and print making.
“My love for encaustic process grew gradually,” Krtic said. “It has versatility — a unique look.”
Bobby Bozeman can be reached at 256-740-5722 or bobby.bozeman@TimesDaily.com.