In fron of the mirrorNovember 26 —
December 08, 2021
Levstikova ulica 3
1000 Ljubljana
CURATORPiera Ravnikar

Eva Simonič

            The painter Tea Kralj presents herself at RAVNIKAR GALLERY SPACE with the solo exhibition In front of the mirror. Her work is dedicated to exploring the materiality of painting, which the technique of oil on canvas gratefully allowed for. At its foundation, it is a play of patterns and images that may be outlined in the perforated textures; these are created by applying many layers of oil paint, between which the artist sticks stencils made of different types of lace. Until recently, her working process was carefully calculated and thought out as she used a computer programme to create not only the lace stencils but also the digital starting point for the painting, which she then transferred onto the canvas in the next step. Lately, however, the artist has taken a more spontaneous approach to building-up the painting: as in the past, she prepares the lace stencils, which she makes herself from the first step to the last – from drawing the vector shapes to printing and cutting – and then layers them randomly on top of each other. This flexibility, yielding to the unpredictability of the build-up of the painting, can be linked to the idea that Kralj understands lace as a network of events that change with each intervention due to the very nature of her creative processes of applying and layering. Thick, rough and cracked layers of paint will cast a shifting shadow depending on the time of day, light intensity and lace pattern, potentiating the painter's possibilities for a continued play of textures.

           With her enigmatic painterly canvases, the artist also assigns an important role to the viewer, as her desire to explore the physical properties of the material and its given characteristics transforms in the viewer into a desire to feel; to touch the oils and the furrows left by the lace on its drying surface. By transforming the paintings into three-dimensional objects that can no longer function as flat decorations fused to the wall, the artist has made them visually and above all tactilely exciting. She juxtaposes this sensory experience with the digital world, where such an experience is impossible; it is the indescribable authenticity of the original painting that distinguishes it from its own reproduction in the virtual sphere, the "mystique" that separates the lace surface of the painting from the static photograph of the lace. The task that awaits the viewer in front of the mirror of the painterly canvas is to decipher the riddle of the fleeting images that may appear on the deceptive surface of the painting one moment and disappear the very next.

            Tea Kralj (1986) graduated in 2016 from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana in the class of Professor Žiga Kariž. So far, she has shown her work in solo exhibitions at Galerija Meduza, Mala galerija and Layerjeva hiša in Kranj, and has participated in several group exhibitions at the RAVNIKAR GALLERY SPACE and Galerija Kresija. In the coming year, she will exhibit her works at the Bežigrad 1 Gallery in March and participate in a group exhibition in the Lapidarium of the Božidar Jakac Gallery in Kostanjevica na Krki in April.