Nirvana (with Oakum)
2019 03 06 – 2019 04 18
“The title of Linas Leonas Katinas’s exhibition hosted by THE ROOM gallery and embracing his work from 2016 through 2018 – unseen and unheard of as of yet, however, well anticipated due to the artist’s recognition, – is prompted and established by the ‘title’ or ‘label’ of one his specific new pieces from the past two years, Nirvana (with Oakum). (Notably, the phrasing ‘with oakum’ existed as an unofficial, working version of the title, and was appropriated by the organizers, yet it makes no substantial difference.)
Before we come to consider plastic qualities of that particular work (or start an academic inquiry whether the artist and the viewer find it compelling or not), looking retrospectively, it is obvious that this quality, as captured in verbal terms, does exist, moreover, it encodes the very essence of katinasesque painting.
On the one hand, it is a perfect Nirvana. The term is spelled with a capital ‘N’ intentionally, as L. L. Katinas’s painting has functioned, for several decades, minimum from the hippie 1960s, as an instrument to induce nirvana (samsara, awakening, enlightenment)… You just look at it and the next thing you know that your chakras are opening…
On the other hand, his paintings by themselves function as a veritable map to the land of Nirvana! It is especially obvious from the so-called bird-eye perspective, which reveals mountains and oceans, plains, deserts, lakes and rivers. L. L. Katinas’s paintings appear spiritual landscapes and mindscapes, and those travelling therein have to be aware that their eyes and minds are venturing on a journey no second to that by Marco Polo.
It is also true, that his canvases, more recent or earlier ones, when one comes to analyse them, appear to integrate a good lump of oakum (and that is a decent morsel of truth). To those who might be in the dark, a quick recap, ‘oakum is loosely twisted hemp or jute fibre, leftovers from hackling flax and hemp’. These days oakum is used in neo-folk and plumbing (used to seal piping joints and information gaps). The art from L. L. Katinas is exactly like that – it aspires to transport to exalted states, but also has some coarse taste of earthly life. It is simply beautiful and pronouncing truth in one person. That is quite a commitment.
Without more ado, we invite you to see new work by L. L. Katinas. You will recognise his brand: his passion and poetry, colour and flesh, his world of oakum Nirvana with that pre-and-after-taste of flax and hemp.”
Exhibition curator Dr Vidas Poškus
The painter Linas Leonas Katinas (b. 1941) holds a major in architecture from the former State Art Institute (now, Vilnius Academy of Arts), where he studied from 1959 through 1964. He started exhibiting in 1967, and in 1990, he joined the group ‘24’. He taught at the National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Art and at Vilnius Academy of Arts. In 1999, he was awarded the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts. A number of museums in Lithuania and abroad and private collections hold his works.