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The Master of Conciliation, Fusion and the Combination of Contrasts

Ivica Župan

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Igor Rončević has been painting for a very long time with the consciousness that his painterly signature can be constructed from a series of disparate fragments, and so his collage paintings are composed of elements or stylistic details thanks to which his canvas has become a place where ambivalent worlds meet - an ntersection of their paths. Rončević is therefore, a
painter of ludic individualism, but, at the same time, painter with wide erudition and above all, a curious pirit, who, in a unique way - in different clusters of itations - applies and joins together experiences from he entire history of art. In his works we have for some ime observed the meetings of some of at first sight rreconcilable contrasts - the experiences of Pop art,
European and American abstraction, experiences of gestural and lyrical provenance, different traces and tyles of figuration... All this heterogeneous material has been relativized in his interpretation, often even in blasphemous combinations; in a conspicuously easy and organic way, these combinations merge into a unique whole consisting of forms and meanings which are
difficult to decipher. Analysis of Rončević’s paintings reveals the absence of a specific rational system that accumulates the building blocks of a painting - a mental landscape - but not the absence of a peculiar talent for creating compositional balance in a painting.
The basic building block in the cycle Dulčić’s fragments is the line - stripes, that is linear, ribbon-like shapes, curved lines which meander on the surface of the canvas, and in the painted area, lines freely applied with a finger in fresh paint. The basic ludic element is colour, and the cartography of the canvas is a road
with innumerable directions. The painter, treating the surface of the canvas as a field of total action, creates networks of interlacing multicoloured verticals, lively blue, blue-green and brown hues, coloured without an apparent system or principle, and also of varying width but, despite the seemingly limited starting points of his painting, he creates situations rich in interesting shifts and intriguing pictorial and colouristic happenings.
The painter’s main preoccupation is the interaction of ‘neon’ colours (obviously a reference to the twentieth-century’s ‘neon’ enthusiasts), which has been achieved with a simple composition consisting of a knot of interwoven ribbons of intense colours
which belong to a different chromatic register in each painting. Streams of complementary or contrasting colours, which spread out across the painted field like the tributaries of a river, subject to confluence, adopting features of the neighbouring colour, sharing the light and darkness of a ‘neon’. Although the
impression implies the opposite, the application of colours, their touching and eventual interaction are strictly controlled by the skill of a great colourist.
Dulčić’s fragments display Rončević’s fascinating power of unexpected associative perception. The painter now reaches for the excess of colour remaining on his palette from the work on previous paintings. He applies the colour to the canvas with a spatula in a relief impasto, and he revives the dried background
with a lazure glaze of a chosen colour. On a saturated but still obviously ‘neon’ grid, the painter - evenly, like a collage detail - applies islands of open colour on the surface of the painting, which he finally paints with a brush, applying vertical white lines over the colour. These shapes of an associative and metaphorical
nature are an integral part of the semantic scaffolding of composition but, without particular declarative frameworks and associative attributes, we can never precisely say what they actually represent although they are reminiscent of many things, such as seeds, bacteria, cellular microcosm, unstable primitive forms of life, the macrocosm of the universe, the structures
of crystals, technical graphs, calligraphy, secret codes... The linear clarity of the drawing makes motifs concrete and palpable, possessing volume, in fact, possessing bulging physicality. In new paintings, the personal sign of the artist, which arrived in the painting from the activity of the conscious and the unconscious, has been replaced with small shapes, most similar to an oval, which look like separate pieces attached to the surface of the painting and which are reminiscent of specific painterly and artistic tendencies. Their monochrome surfaces are filled with verticals which are particles of the rational or, to put it better, from the constructivist stylistic repertoire, reminiscent, for example, of Daniel Buren’s verticals.
Two divergent components - the abstract and the rational - stylistically and typologically separate, but chronologically parallel - pour into an evocative encounter which reveals a nostalgia towards two-dimensional painting. Experiences of posters and graphic design, gestural abstraction, abstract expressionism,
lyrical abstraction and everything else that can be observed in this cycle of paintings are a homage to global modern painting, while the islands on the paintings pay tribute to the constructivist section of the twentieth-century avant-garde.
The contents of Rončević’s paintings are also reminiscent of the rhythmicality of human figures in Dulčić’s representations of the events on Stradun, town squares, beaches, dances... In addition, to Rončević, as a Mediterranean man - in his formative years - Dulčić was an important painter and, if we persist in searching for formal similarities in their ‘handwritings’, we will find them in the hedonism of painterly matter and the sensuality of colour, luxuriant layers, the saturation of impasto painting, gestural
vitality, but mostly in the Mediterranean sensibility, the Mediterranean sonority of colour, their solarity, the southern light and virtuosity of their metiérs. Like Dulčić, Rončević is also re-confirmed as a painter of impulses, of lush, luscious and extremely personalized matter, of layers of pigments, of vehement and
moveable gestures, of fluid pictorialism…
* * *
Let us also say in conclusion that Rončević does not want to state, establish or interpret anything but to incessantly reveal possibilities, their fundamental interchangeability and arbitrariness, and following that, a general insecurity. With the skill of an experienced master painter, he also questions relationships with eclecticism and the aesthetics of kitsch; for example, he explores how far a painter can go into ornamentalization, decorativeness and coquetry without falling into the trap of kitsch but to maintain regularly the classy independence of a
multilayered artifact and to question the very stamina
of painting.
He persistently reveals loyalty to the traditional medium of painting, the virtuosity of his métier and a strong individual stamp, strengthening his own position as a peculiar and outstandingly cultivated painter, but he also exhibits the inventiveness which makes him both different and recognizable in a series of similar painting adventures.


postmodern eclecticism, metalinguistics, amalgamation, combination of genres, fusion of contrasts, unpredictability, Mediterranean colour scheme

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