In collaboration with art critic Rob Perrée, Readytex Art Gallery has developed an informative initiative: An Eye for Art. Once every two weeks Rob Perrée discusses a work of art from the collection of Readytex Art Gallery. This week he talks about ‘Untitled 1’, mixed media on canvas, 150 cm wide x 100 cm high, 2014, by René Tosari.
Sometimes I wonder how hard it must be for an older artist to keep making exciting work. Exciting for himself, but also exciting for viewers, especially those who have been following him for years. René Tosari (Meerzorg, 1948) is one such an artist who has been going at it for about four decades. Because he has always been socially involved and because he has worked in tumultuous as well as peaceful times, alternately in Suriname and in the Netherlands, I never got the feeling that he was repeating himself. At best, his work was familiar to me, just like how you grow with your friends, even when those friends go off in a different direction.
This untitled work from 2012 has truly surprised me however. Not because of the way it has been painted. That is familiar. Ever since Tosari knew that he would return to Suriname and ever since he’s back, his paintings are more narrative, no longer filled with symbols and laden signs, more sober, closer to reality. They are like a type of visual diary looking back on memories, but at the same time also portraying current events. The content still contains the serious note it always had.
What I do find surprising is that this painting is almost hilarious. A couple that is experiencing an exceedingly happy moment. Infatuation? Burgeoning lust? Simple fun? The joyful sparks just jump off of it. The flowers that fly across the canvas from all sides symbolize those sparks. The couple is also shown as if in motion. Arms and legs seem to go off in all directions. I get a sense of catching them in a cheerful, but also intimate moment. That intimacy gets an extra charge because I can’t get past the feeling that the artist is probably one of the lovers himself. At least those glasses look very familiar to me.
To the outsider however, that little tidbit is of no consequence whatsoever. He sees a couple that is having an infectiously fun time. An unusual emotion in the ‘cathedral of art’. Unjustly so. This work quite adequately proves that.
TEXT Rob Perrée, Amsterdam, September 11, 2015
TRANSLATION Cassandra Gummels-Relyveld, 2015
Want to see this and other work of René Tosari ‘up close and personal’? That’s possible at Readytex Art Gallery, Steenbakkerijstraat 30, Paramaribo. www.readytexartgallery.com. For more information about René Tosari please visit the website http://readytexartgallery.com/renetosari.
René Tosari, ‘Coronie libi de III’ [Coronie there is life III], mixed media on canvas, 92 cm wide x 149 cm high, 2010 – USD 1700 / PHOTO Readytex Art Gallery/William Tsang
This edition of An Eye for Art has been sent as a RAG-mailing on September 16, 2015 and was published in Kunst en Cultuur in de Ware Tijd on September 16, 2015.
Because really looking at art and understanding art are not always obvious and easy to do, we hope that these regular reviews will at least offer you some insight into the process. You will get to see how a connoisseur looks at art, discusses it, and then links the work to others within the international art world.
Of course you can only truly judge a work of art when you are actually standing in front of it yourself. We therefore hope to see you soon in Readytex Art Gallery and are eager to hear what you think of this artwork, and which other works of art you find yourself drawn to. Please note that the artworks discussed are still available for purchase at the time that the review is published.
Rob Perrée is art historian and works as freelance writer, art critic and curator, specialized in contemporary (Afro-) American art, African art, Surinamese art and art using new media. His work has appeared in countless catalogues, books, magazines and newspapers. He is editor of Sranan Art Xposed, editor in chief of Africanah.org and a member of the editing team of Pf Photo Magazine. His website: http://robperree.com.