by John O’Hern
Annie Dillard wrote that “Appealing workplaces are to be avoided. You need a room with no view so imagination can meet memory in the dark.”
Amer Kobaslija has taken this to heart. He paints in a windowless room. Prominently featured in the young artist’s work, Con te Partiro, is his camera on its tripod, ready to assist in capturing details to be translated in paint on canvas. A backpack, a floor fan, a messy palette, and cans of solvent are all parts of the artist’s world in this ordinary, characterless space. The floor and walls have become unintentional abstract paintings with their dripped and smeared paint. I t is a delicious twist to see the abstractions carefully and realistically painted on the canvas. Gone is the image of the nineteenth century artist painting pristinely in his suit in an elegant atelier.
Sputnik Sweetheart of New Orleans and the End of the World depicts his studio in an even more chaotic state. The title merges parts of titles of novels by the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. Perhaps Kobaslija is suggesting that if the brilliantly untidy novels of Murakami are art, then his studio is art, too. His paintings raise the ordinary to the extraordinary.