About me and my Art

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About me and my artworks

 

Background

I am a visual artist who paints contemporary landscape and abstract paintings and also sculpt. 
I was born in Budapest, Hungary and migrated to Australia in 1958.  I started painting in 1970 while working as a Chartered Architect and in 1997 retired to paint and sculpt full time.

Artistic Influences

I most admire Van Gogh’s intensity and use of colour to stir up emotions, Paul Klee’s sensitivity and insight into our inner beings, Kandinsky’s exuberance and sense of composition, Picasso’s inventiveness and broad range of interests. 

As for Australian artists, I love John Olsen’s playful and imaginative expression, Fred Williams’ ability to abstract the essential elements of a landscape, and last but not least, Emily Kngwarreye’s instinctive mastery of colour, structure and connection to Country.

Inspiration

My main inspiration is Nature, in particular Australia’s unique wilderness areas, wetlands, the unspoilt countryside, deserts and seashores.  My paintings clearly show my love of this country, especially of the Sydney Region.

Interpretation and Expression

My interpretation of natural phenomena is unique, surprising and unpredictable.  My paintings not only encapsulate the essential elements, colours and features of a particular place, but also recreate the ambience and the feel of ‘being there’.

My sculptures are made from recycled materials and often based on simple geometric forms like cubes and pyramids.  In contrast, their complex mosaic-like surfaces comprise multi-coloured pieces arranged in artistic jigsaw patterns.

Typically, my highly original work is exuberant, vibrant, confident and eye-catching.  My artworks are charged with positive energy, are richly textured and overflow with dazzling colour.  Alternatively, some pieces are soft, meditative and introspective.  The  playful, decorative and inspiring images are both optimistic and spiritually uplifting.

Exhibitions, membership and collections

I have had more than 30 solo shows since 1999 – in Sydney, Melbourne and in regional New South Wales galleries.  i have also participated in countless group shows in municipal and commercial galleries and other venues.  I have been a member of the National Association for Visual Arts (NAVA) and exhibiting memberships in Mosman Art Society, Ku-ring-gai Art Society, Hornsby Art Society, North Shore Art Society, Northern Expressions, Art & Soul Collective and The Sculptors’ Society.

Apart from Australia, my works can be found in private collections all around the world, including USA, Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong, New Zealand and a number of European countries.

 

The principles I follow as an artist

Preface
As a contemporary Sydney artist, this short manifesto is meant to summarize some of my beliefs about creativity in the visual arts.  These are principles I follow generally and the points I listed are not meant to be a formula or recipe for creating masterpieces.  They are just reminders for myself so as to avoid the usual pitfalls artists encounter.

Having found these principles useful in my career as a professional artist for over thirty years, I decided to share them with other interested artists and students.

I believe this list is open for debate and I invite all and sundry to discuss the issues raised.  Ultimately my philosophy is for my own use and it may be meaningless for anybody else.

So, here are my guidelines I follow:

Capture the essentials and ignore the insignificant
Try to capture the essential elements of a visual experience. Ignore the superfluous bits and eliminate unnecessary details.  Focus on the critical aspects of the subject and capture only the significant and lasting characteristics.

Never compete with the camera
Reproducing accurately what the eye sees is not necessarily artistic creativity.  Technical proficiency may only produce an impressive illustration.  A musical composer does not merely reproduce the sounds heard in nature, but creates a composition from his heart.

Be interested in only creating images which reflect your subjective response to places, or express your feelings and capture the mood of being there.

Abstract art is treated like music
Good abstract painters use the same basic principles as composers of music -- balanced composition, integrity, mood, tone,  colour, texture, rhythm, harmony, contrast, balance, tension, counterpoint and so on.  The objective is the same: creating a mood, arousing a feeling, stirring the emotions.

 

Venture beyond the comfort zone
Do not be content to settle into a commercially successful and 'easy' style.  Refuse to limit your output to 'much of the same'  thus avoiding the use of a tired old formula.  Chose to move beyond the safe comfort zone.  Search for variety, revel in the excitement of discovering something new and unfamiliar; and also learn to experiment with future possibilities.

Express the joy for living
Let colour help express the thrill of being alive.  Access your sacred gift of intuition and honour your creative spirit. Then you will have a wonderful opportunity  to create meaningful and optimistic images to make people happy.

For me as an artist the real achievement is when people tell me that my artworks speak to them, when my creations touch their hearts and spirit.  When my paintings wash away the sweat and dust of their stressful working days, I am happy.

The essential ingredient
As my abstract artist friend Ted Knerr reminded me, there is another crucial element to creativity.  This is not something you can just conjure up from your head.  To paraphrase him: real art comes from inspiration, and valid art-appreciation comes first from a gut reaction which in turn comes from one's spiritual condition.

Great art can come from the uneducated but quietly enlightened, and bad art from the highly trained but disconnected from the soul; so education can be a plus or a minus, but soul connection is an indispensable prerequisite for an artist's creativity.

My philosophy

I am driven obsessively to create artworks which nourish the human spirit, celebrate the wonders of Nature and provide enjoyment, stimulation and a touch of magic to our lives.

I believe that for a meaningful existence we human beings need more than just the basic necessities of food, shelter and security.   Once we have made sure that we have these  necessary material possessions, we then must look after our intellectual curiosity, express our aspirations and nurture our emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

That is, we need to rise above the mundane, the ordinary and the daily drudgery of survival.  This is where the arts become a necessary factor.  Engagement with literature, theatre, music and the visual arts provide great opportunities to satisfy our creative urges and at the same time we can find lasting enjoyment.

Themes, painting series and periods

Whilst I like to explore vastly different 'styles' and approaches in my artwork, there are obvious recurring 'themes' which I pursue.  Examples of my themes as expressed in my landscape and abstract paintings are water, desert, wilderness and flora.

Examples of these series are: 'spectrum colour shifts', patterns and minimalist colour-fields.

 

Artistic influences

"When considering which artists influenced him, Gerzabek says he most admires Van Gogh’s intensity and use of colour to stir up emotions, Paul Klee’s sensitivity and insight into our inner beings, Kandinsky’s exuberance and sense of composition, Picasso’s inventiveness and broad range of interests.

"As for Australian artists, he loves John Olsen’s playful and imaginative approach, Fred Williams’ ability to abstract the essential elements of a landscape, and last but not least, Emily Kngwarreye’s instinctive mastery of colour, structure and connection to Country."  --  (quote from exhibition catalogue 2004)

yellow orchid photo

Orchid, photo by Ernie Gerzabek

My favourite quotations about art and creativity

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.
Jasper Johns

Creativity is that marvellous capacity to grasp mutually distinct realities and draw a spark from their juxtaposition.
Max Ernst

In a successful painting everything is integral – all the parts belong to the whole. If you remove an aspect or element you are removing its wholeness.
Richard Diebenkorn

Art.  Its definitions are legion, its meanings multitudinous, its importance often debated.  But amid the many contradictory definitions of art, one has always stood the test of time, from the Upanishads in the East, to Michelangelo in the West: art is the perception and depiction of the sublime, the transcendent, the beautiful, the spiritual.
Art is a window to The Infinite, and opening to the goddess, a portal through which you and I, with the help of the artist, may discover depths and heights of our soul undreamed of by the vulgar world. Art is the eye of the spirit, through which the sublime can reach down to us, and we up to it, and be transformed, transfigured in the process.
Art, at its best, is the representation of your very own soul, a reminder of who and what you truly are and therefore can become."
Ken Wilber

Pro Hart's art is like MacDonald's - an invented product that no one needs.
It's got to be said that they're the ugliest things you've ever seen.  They are visual pollutants.
They reflect the averaging of Australia that has become so much part of John Howard's era.
We have sunk to such a low sate of self-esteem that people have been celebrating the fact that he made a s---load of money from paintings that are totally unworthy.
Now Ken Done has come out in support of Pro Hart, which is the blind defending the bland.
Ray Hughes
leading Sydney art dealer,
as reported by the Sun-Herald 9/4/06

In painting I want to say something comforting
in the way that music is comforting.
Vincent Van Gogh

 

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Pablo Picasso

Painting is an extension of man's means of communication. As such, it's pure, difficult, and wonderful.
Sidney Nolan

 Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.
Jean Cocteau

The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through.
Jackson Pollock

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Edgar Degas

No great artist ever sees things as they really are.
If He did, he would cease to be an artist.
Oscar Wilde

Art is not made for anybody and is, at the same time,
for everybody.
Piet Mondrian

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.
Paul Cezanne

Never trust an art dealer who'll sit in a room for more than ten minutes with a crooked picture.
Brett Whiteley

Art should be something like a good armchair
in which to rest from physical fatigue
Henri Matisse

Art for art's sake makes no more sense than
gin for gin's sake.
W Somerset Maugham

Creativity takes courage.
Henri Matisse

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.
Albert Einstein

Do not copy nature too much.  Art is an abstraction.
Paul Gauguin

Famous artists I admire

Vincent Van Gogh
Mark Rothko
Jeans (Hans) Arp
Hundertwasser
Jackson Pollock
Paul Klee
Kandinsky
Picasso
Paul Cezanne
Pierre Bonnard

Fred Williams
John Olsen
Emily Kngwarreye
Rosalie Gascoigne
Gerhard Richter
Joan Miro
Alexander Calder
Sidney Nolan
Gustav Klimt
Henri Matisse

JMW Turner
Rembrandt
Mondrian
Motherwell
Victor Vasarely
Josef Albers
Arthur Boyd
Constantin Brancusi
Helen Frankenthaler
Paul Gougin

Howard Hodgkin
Franz Kline
Oskar Kokoschka
Rene Magritte
Claude Monet
Victor Pasmore
Bridget Riley
Robert Smithson
Nicolas De Stael
Gloria Petyara


© Ernie Gerzabek 1999-2017

 

Abstract Landscape Paintings Gallery