series and artistic 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 are: water, desert,
wilderness and flora.
At the same time I create pieces which tend to form
'Series' with individual works representing different themes.
Examples of these series are: spectrum shifts,
patterns and minimalist colour-fields.
Happiness and painting - my approach to art practice
philosophical questions of what is happiness, and how to pursue it, as an artist I can only deal confidently with the issues of what makes me happy.
Messing about with paint and probing all aspects of the creative process makes me happy. Exploring this planet’s stunning landscapes and discovering the
wonders of nature makes me very happy.
With my background as an architect, I tend to ‘cut to the chase’ and try to capture the essential elements of a visual experience, hence my leaning towards
minimalism and abstraction.
I consider abstraction as the means of selecting and isolating the essential
elements of a location, a landscape and such, for example the dominant colours,
the mood and the feel of the place.
Eliminating all unnecessary details and
most significant features of a scene is the main task for me.
To illustrate: I bypass depicting the vineyard,
the sun above, the vines, the bunches of grapes and the wine, I am searching instead for the final product, the concentrated spirit, the
potent cognac, which is the ultimate manifestation of all the essential elements that
contributed to the final product. My use of invigorating colour and
complex patterns reflects my desire to create works that inspire optimism, reflect the vitality of the
and provide a meaningful experience for the viewer. I like bright cheerful colours that
illustrate the thrill of being alive. While selling contemporary paintings has its benefits
for any artist, for me the real achievement (and the source of happiness) comes from the
satisfaction people experience when my paintings speak to them.
I have a very broad range of styles and sometimes I wonder if this is a
wise approach. Should I restrict myself to a safe comfort zone and only produce
countless variations of my commercially successful
I only hypothesize about this, because many artists just stick to a certain
style and "look" and do endless variations
in the same vein. A good example is the Australian painter John Coburn; all
his paintings seem to be based on a certain formula: an evenly coloured background
and a number of differently coloured and carefully drawn shapes, usually ovals,
circles, diamonds, and assorted curvaceous outlines arranged in a
carefully composed way.
Beautiful colours, subtle refinements. No drama and no
surprises, just a lovely composition, in reliable good taste, and the execution
is immaculate. Galleries love this reliable consistency.
Many artists on the other hand go on a
merry-go-round of experimentation and exploration. They always search for
new approaches, there is no restriction on their imagination. They tend to
get carried away with new processes, they stumble on something new which has
never been done before.
Pablo Picasso is a good example, in all his life he used many different media, and changed
"styles" regularly and with verve. Caught up with the passion of
So what are the alternatives
for an artist, follow the path of
Coburn or Picasso? Should he play safe and do the "reliable and
boring consistent", or just
get carried away with the passion of the chase?
For me, the safe way does not appeal. I much prefer the path of discovery, the
chasing of a dream and the discovery of unexpected surprises in the
Abstract art and music - what is the
I would like to discuss the
different ways people respond to abstract art and music. Whilst these two
different art forms have many significant similarities, many people tend to
approach them entirely differently. Why is the attitude so different when they
encounter examples in each of these mediums? Consider the possibilities.
Abstract art -- ‘what does it mean?’ I hear
It's not surprising that many people, who are not
conversant with the language of contemporary art, become very puzzled when
looking at an abstract artwork. Their confusion is usually triggered by being
confronted with an unfamiliar visual experience. Normally when people come
across a painting or sculpture, they are looking for visual references they are
familiar with. Such references may include landscape features, the human body
or ordinary objects they see every day.
So when looking at an abstract artwork and their
familiar visual references do not come into play, they tend to become confused
and bewildered. They are inclined to ask 'what does this mean?' rather than
come to the simple conclusion of 'I like it' or 'I do not like it'.
Why is abstract art and music
It is interesting to note that the
very same people would not be confused the same way if they just heard a new
musical piece. Instead of asking 'what does this mean?' they would certainly
come to the simple conclusion 'I like it' or 'I do not like it'.
When hearing a new musical piece,
people are not making comparisons with the natural sounds they hear in their
daily lives, such as sounds heard in a forest, on the beach,
in urban settings and so on. They respond to the mood, the melody and the
rhythm of the music instinctively. They either like or dislike the musical piece
without resorting to reasoning and analysis or looking for a meaning. Their
reaction is instinctive, intuitive and quite often emotional. May even play on
This indicates to me that many people appraise abstract art and music entirely
Music is intuitively assessed and
accepted or rejected, as the case may be. In contrast, visual art is
scrutinised with analytical reasoning, and the viewers are usually looking for a
logical explanation. For some inexplicable reason the intuitive approach gets
switched off by most people when it comes to contemporary art, especially the
Music is intuitively assessed and
accepted or rejected, as the case may be, however, visual art is scrutinised
with analytical reasoning, looking for a logical explanation. For some
inexplicable reason the intuitive approach gets switched off by many viewers
when it comes to appreciating contemporary art, especially the
The parallels between abstract
art and music
In this discussion I deliberately
have chosen music for comparison. Even though abstract art and music are
treated quite differently, I believe there are very strong parallels between
these art forms. Creators of abstract art and composers of music apply the same
principles in their compositions and they rely on the same basic elements.
Their common language is colour, tone, texture, mood, rhythm, harmony, contrast,
balance, tension, counterpoint, integrity and so on.
The dynamics of the creative
process in both these art forms are directly comparable and the parallels are
strikingly similar. Yet evaluation and 'understanding' of music and abstract
art is altogether different.
Why is it so?
I do not know the reason for this curious divergence and the
general lack of understanding of abstract art. As a contemporary artist, I
wonder why this is the case and only have a few guesses.
I suspect the main reason may be the lack of education in this area. There may
be insufficient coverage in schools of any visual arts related subjects.
Another reason may be the lack of exposure to such works of art during the
formative years in a young person’s life. Are any psychological factors
involved? Is the undue emphasis on sports the culprit? Is the decline in
general knowledge across the board the explanation? Please let me know if you
know the answer.
In the meanwhile, lets enjoy the enjoyable, including the best of abstract art,
without analysing too much, without explaining too much or even thinking too
much of the extremely high selling prices some abstract artworks reach in the
current art market.
Artist's Palette magazine article
by Natasha Percy Reproduced from issue No.29
Wilderness by Design
Ernie Gerzabek's training in architecture and design adds an
edge to his paintings,
which reflect the Australian landscape in a unique way.
His use of invigorating colour and patterns reflects his desire to create
works that inspire optimism, reflect the vitality of the wilderness and
provide a meaningful experience for the viewer.
Ernie left his homeland of
Hungary at the age of 18 as a refugee and spent two years in Austria with his
family before migrating to Sydney Australia. As a child, growing up in a
landlocked country under the oppressive communist regime, he had resigned
himself to the probability that he would never see the sea.
In a wonderful twist of irony,
today he has made his home on Sydney’s northern beaches, regularly travels to
Europe and North America and finds much of his inspiration from the stunning
landscapes he encounters on three different continents.
Ernie Gerzabek’s background as an
architect adds an edge to his paintings, which reflect the love of nature in a
unique way. His use of invigorating colour and patterns reflects his desire to
create works that inspire optimism, reflect the vitality of the wilderness and
provide a meaningful experience for the viewer. “For me, the colours are
stimulating” he explains. “I like bright optimistic colours that can translate
into the thrill of being alive.” Ernie sees colour as both an emotional and
visual tool and he aims to choose those that best express his feelings towards
his subject matter.
Dots and lines form a significant
part of Ernie’s paintings and he maintains they are the basic elements of visual
expression as a whole. “Dots allow different colours to be put side by side and
then those colours blend together in your eye (or more accurately in your mind),
producing a new colour.”
When considering which artists
inspire him, Ernie says he most admires Van Gogh’s intensity and use of colour
to stir up emotions, Paul Klee’s sensitive insight into our inner beings,
Kandinsky’s exuberance and sense of composition and Picasso’s brave
As for Australian artists, he
loves John Olsen’s playful and imaginative expression, Sydney Nolan’s “cutting
to the chase”, Fred Williams’ ability to abstract the essential elements of a
landscape, and last but not least, Aboriginal Emily Kngwarreye’s instinctive mastery of colour, structure
and connection to Country.
Ernie loves the purity and
intensity of abstract art. “I look at abstraction as the process of reducing
and distilling the essential elements from a landscape, for example the colours,
rhythm, mood and feel of the place,” he says. Getting rid of unnecessary detail
and extracting the most important features of a scene what really matters,
according to Ernie. “I try to go beyond the hillside, sunshine, vines, grapes
and wine to find the final product, the concentrated spirit, the brandy” he
Ernie believes this ‘filtering’
process is well-suited to the subject matter of the natural world. “Wilderness
by its nature is untamed, overwhelming, and awe-inspiring – unless simplified,
it is beyond our comprehension to take it all in,” he says. According to Ernie,
getting down to the basics is not as easy as it might seem, and not many do it
well. “Good abstraction leapfrogs the trivial and bypasses the intermediary to
convey information directly,” he states. “Bad abstraction is contrived and
forced and can very easily become clichéd.”
While selling paintings naturally
has its benefits, Ernie says the real achievement comes when his viewers not
only find his work attractive, but also find it speaks to them. “My main aim in
being an artist is to produce art that is meaningful to people,” he says.
Top artists of the 20th century to now - as voted by readers of
The Times newspaper
Willem De Kooning
Giorgio De Chirico
Pierre Auguste Renoir
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
Bernd And Hilla Becher
The Mosman Daily published the article below on 12 May 2011.
I donated my
Midnight blues painting to Asylum Seekers Centre, to be auctioned on the
© Ernie Gerzabek 1999-2017
Art related ideas
Abstract Landscape Paintings Gallery