The Magical Painting of Jaroslav Valečka
Jaroslav Valečka is one of the most interesting and most talented representatives of contemporary Czech artistic generation.
He graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and Prague is also his place of residence.
However, he spent a significant part of his life inthe country, namely in Northern Bohemia. His bond with the dark romance of Northern Bohemia can clearly be identified in the Themis of his work, and leaves visible marks on the character of his artistic personality.
Valečka has never been, nor ever aspires to be an ambitious leader of artistic avant-garde, and his paintings are definitely not meant to amaze the public. Infact, the power of his paintings rests in apart icularintimacy of his work and also in an exceptionally balanced quality of his artistic production.
His talent can easily get lost in group exhibitions, where an individual author is represented by one or two pieces.
Nevertheless, the larger the collection of Valečka’s work is, the better one can realise his qualities as a painter.
Valečka cannot be expected to produce a single masterpiece overshadowing everything else.
His work tends to develop slowly, it matures step by step and materialises in tens of full-blooded, authentic pieces. These
can become an integral part of public and private gallery collections, just like Grimshaw’s nocturnos, landscapes of Worspswede group, which can also hardly be represented by a single piece, yet undoubtedly present quality art.
I am not referring to the respective artists just incidentally. In fact, Valečka’s paintings are both classical and contemporary at the same time.
Czech painting is now absorbed by omniscient reminiscences to 20th century abstract art. Being inspired by historical tradition of painting is not bad in itself. No artist creates in vacuum and is—at least subconsciously—made to be receiving impulses from things already done.
Czech artistic milieu today, however, tends to adore 20th century painting, which makes it
difficult to fully appreciate the values of other artistic styles.The impulses of classical modern art and of abstract art produced between two world wars in particular, come back over and over again in a more or less pulverised form.
Valečka overcomes this crisis by going back to the tradition prior to modernism. His figurative motives remindus of Edvard Munch,his Themis and compostion recall Friedrich’s romantism and symbolism of the SURSUM group, and the way he handles colour and light is close to luminism, a style at the turn of 19th and 20th centuries.
Nevertheless, Valečka does not produce copies. He absorbs impulses and his own creativity forges them into a new integral unity. In that sense, his works have a totally contemporary feeling.The themes of his paintings are usually village settings from Lužické hory in Northern Bohemia. These are landscape views, either empty or with only sketched figures .Along side his landscapes,Valečka alsopaints figurative scenes.They are typical for thein dreamlike magic. (Valečka’s relatives and neighbours gain the quality of Arbes’s characters from his romanettos.)
Magical effect is underlined by evening and night sceneries in which his paintings are set.
The quality of the painter becomes even more obvious in relation to his landscapes. He sometimes leaves them empty, sometimes they get populated by peculiar figures. Inhis figuration he joins the expressionist, Munchian understanding of the figure with an introvert, dreamy romanticism.
His figurek have only sketched faces which make them look ominously mysterious.
Thepower of Valečka’s paintings,however, rests mainly in his fascinating handling of colour and light.
Colour and light create an integral unity, a peculiar medium woven from unbelievably fine hues and mysticallys hining light. When combined with unusual sacred themes, this medium gains a magical character. A church with a burning tower on one of the paintings is transformed into a tabernacle glaring with mystical light.
Valečka confidently manages composition and deep structure of his paintings. His technical virtuosity is joined with the originality of his Themis and his suggestive handling of colour and light.
Valečka is becoming one of the most talented Czech painters with a clearly defined direction.