Špiro Katić / R egattas
R E G A T T A S
Špiro Katić displayed painterly and emotional devotion to his beautiful Dalmatia a long time ago, through series of vedute featuring motifs of Southern seascapes and landscapes. In the cycle entitled ‘Regattas’, the main protagonist is the sea, i.e. regattas, where sailboats create a spectacular parade of unusual ornamentation on sometimes calm and, other times, restless surface of the sea. Many in numbers, the sailboats seem like field crops in the wind, offering relaxed atmosphere to the observer. Having frequently watched attractive sailing scenes, Katić developed considerable artistic interest towards them and started to interpret them in his own, poetic way.
In the case of ‘Regattas’, Katić renounces realistic descriptiveness at the cycle climax, translating and reducing visual facts to a mere sign. Combining passion of sports event with relaxed joyousness and satisfaction of the audience in the painting representing the sea and sailboats at a regatta, Špiro Katić is primarily interested in the picturesque play of hoisted sails upon the blue sea. Advancing to metaphorical connotations, the shape of sails becomes external form and symbol of any excitement one can experience in contact with the sea. In this marine exaltation, beginning with torsos of stretched surfaces, Katić proceeds with visual transformation of motifs to the level of associative seductiveness. By using creative solutions in series of approximately chamber-sized collages, Katić systematically expands the possibilities of images regardless of the literalness of form. Related and recurrent motifs slowly create an abundance of variety. In the case of collages, Katić precisely follows classic organisation of paintings, alongside convincing motifs and details, thus creating a basis for layered compositions that will emerge in his later oil paintings. They comprise a total synthesis of the realistic that ensured a complete painterly freedom in signifying the object, thus bringing closer the well-known motif of sailboats to abstraction.
If we wanted to describe dynamic characteristics of Katić’s imagery, they would be most precisely defined as rhythmical movement. In the dynamicity of cutting through the sea surface, especially in movement of separated groups of sailboats, we can almost feel all the boras and silenced mistrals carved into main sails and woodworks. Natural energy moves each segment of the images around, both small and the large ones, creating a rhythm within the regatta field through simultaneous rigidity of exhibition display on one hand and deviation from the perfection of order on the other. Still, none of the fragments leave the fundamental frame of the picture, and visual unity of impression correctly responds to the dramatic plots. Painting composition and deep areas of chromatic transparency indicate the charm of regattas, adding to them a new, non-factual visuality, while strong drawing conquers the optics of painting surface autonomy.
Ever-changing stylistically, Katić constantly conceives familiar motifs in new ways. Demonstrated through strong graphisms, lines that outline the silhouettes of sails and masts, in constant reduction of the object we will recognise Katić’s version of geometrical abstraction, obvious separateness from factualness. Symmetries and cracks, schemes and turns, gradated clashes, syntheses of linearity and volume, networks, and finally, spontaneous lines, are visual ways in which Katić expresses his experience of sailing regattas. Logical and balanced textual intervention is a commentary and an optional follow-up to the motifs. New Katić’s cycle is seemingly contrasted to other parts of his artistic oeuvre, developed between poetical realism and expressionist openness. In ‘Regattas’ (before all in oil paintings) one can observe a rational component, architectonic frame and solid structure of the raster image. Katić’s other pole of expression shares strong connection with the majority of his earlier artistic cycles. With the inseparable adoption of Dalmatia, the beauty of the South, and life by the sea; giving in to the gifts of the sea in observing the wealth of the offing.
In any case, indubitable magnificence of Katić’s general artistic poetics and its roots are reflected in the manner of artistic performance, revealing itself as a permanent phenomenon in Croatian modern art.
ŠPIRO KATIĆ was born in Solin on June 6, 1940. He graduated from the Department of Painting of the School of Applied Arts in Split in the class of Ante Kaštelančić and Milan Tolić.
He worked as a restorer at the Regional Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Split. Being professionally engaged in artwork since 1986 he has held solo exhibitions since 1987.
He is a member of the of the Croatian Association Artists (HDLU), the Croatian Association of Visual Artists in Split (HULU-SPLIT) and the Croatian Association of Artists of Applied Arts (ULUPUH).
In „CROATIAN BIOGRAPHICAL LEXICON” (Kam-Ko 7) page 179 „THE MIROSLAV KRLEŽA INSTITUTE OF LEXICOGRAPHY“ (March, 2009), the text on artistic work of Špiro Katić has been presented.
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