Peter Krausz, “Helen’s Exile”
April 15 – May 28, 2005
Opening Reception:  Friday, April 15, 6:00-8:00pm

Forum Gallery
8069 Beverly Blvd. (at Crescent Heights Blvd.), Los Angeles, California 90046
Contact: Niccolò Brooker/Marvella Muro
Telephone: (323) 655-1550, Fax: (323) 655-1565
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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Peter Krausz, “Helen’s Exile #10”, 2005, secco, 80 x 36 inches.

Los Angeles, California. Forum Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of landscape paintings by Montréal-based artist Peter Krausz from April 15th through May 28th, 2005. Peter Krausz: Helen’s Exile will be the artists’ first exhibition in Los Angeles and he will be present for the opening reception on Friday evening, April 15th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.

Upon first viewing, many will recognize the landscape in Peter Krausz’s paintings as a place they have visited before. Perhaps it is Tuscany, or California, or somewhere in the south of France. But the paintings are of no particular place or time; they are purely the creations of Krausz’s imagination. What we recognize is not a literal place, but rather an artist’s imagined ideal. Despite this, the paintings evoke strong memories, and that sense of familiarity with the landscape makes the viewing experience intimate and highly personal. The wide vistas with gently sloping valleys sheltered by solemn mountains fill the frame, unspoiled; the only evidence of human interaction is the faint wisp of a road, and the soft outlines of fields.

The inspiration for the title of the show, Helen’s Exile, comes from an essay of the same name by Albert Camus. In his essay, Camus laments the deplorable state of the human condition, stating that we “turn our backs on nature; we are ashamed of beauty.” Camus calls for a return to the time of the Greeks: “We have exiled beauty;” he writes, “the Greeks took up arms for her.” The reference here is to Helen of Troy, the legendary beauty whose face “launched a thousand ships.” Camus believed that artists play a very important role, “struggling for freedom” and “fighting for beauty” and Krausz has accepted this responsibility, creating sweeping landscapes that compel the viewer to devote their attention to beauty.

Krausz uses an ancient painting technique called Secco, which in Italian means ‘dry.’ This technique was used 3500 years ago in Egypt, and Secco would continue to be used up through the Renaissance, notably by the icon painters of the Byzantium and Russia. The Secco technique requires a dry surface, unlike the more familiar Fresco technique where the pigments are applied to a wet surface. Krausz creates his dry, wall-like surface using marble powder and acrylic gels. The paint itself is powdered pigment in an egg emulsion which Krausz applies in many thin, transparent layers with large brushes to achieve the intensity of colors he wants. The Secco technique offers an unparalleled richness and luminosity, giving his colors a visceral quality. Secco paintings are also extremely durable and can last for centuries, much longer than oils or acrylics.  

Peter Krausz was born in Romania in 1946 and graduated from the Bucharest Academy of Fine Arts in 1969. He emigrated to Montreal, Canada in 1970 and was the curator of the Saidye Bronfman Centre Art Gallery (Montréal) from 1980-1991. He joined the faculty of the University of Montréal in 1991, and is now a tenured Professor of Fine Art in the Art History department. He has received numerous prestigious grants from the Canadian Fine Arts Council and the Québec Ministry of Cultural Affairs. His work is included in many important collections, including the Musée d’art Contemporain, Montréal, Musée du Québec, Royal Bank of Canada, Citi Bank, New York, Air Canada, and the Jewish Museum, New York.

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