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Tina Konec / Evergreen
UGM Studio, Trg Leona Štuklja 2
11 December – 12 February 2021

curator: Andreja Borin

Tina Konec, a young academic painter, has a solo exhibition at the UGM Studio where she shows her most recent works. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana with a master's degree in 2019, but her artistic expression is as masterful as if she had a long creative mileage. Her work is inspired by nature, more precisely trees, specifically coniferous trees. Slowly, like a long meditative process, she arranges the pencil or black ink strokes adjacent to one another on paper or translucent paper.

By employing incredibly simple visual means, Tina Konec creates exceptionally complex works, distinguished by both sensitivity and extraordinary presence. Although inspired by the oldest possible source—nature, her drawings are entirely contemporary. The artist does not strictly copy nature, but rather condenses and dissolves her "tree crowns" into a delicately sensed rhythm in a comfortable and intuitive manner. In the approach she inserts the painting onto a blank piece of paper, in apparent simplicity, in a very condensed expressive and poetic character, there is the occasional sensation of the essence of Eastern art. The drawings direct the viewer's attention to the tree crowns and the sky, as if an open door leads to an inconceivable infinity. We encounter peace and perfection everywhere as we look through dense dark landscapes and little isolated shoots.

Being one of nature's basic forms, the tree symbolises a bridge between the earth in which it is rooted and the crown that reaches out to the light. It represents the connectivity of all things in the universe, as well as the bridge between the material and spiritual natures of being. It also is a metaphor for human existence, pulled between the earthly pole of a complex but harsh reality and the divine pole of spiritual freedom, inspiration, and creativity. Tina Konec's drawings are based on the material pole of the world (the artist also uses photography in the first stage of drawing), but there is a shift to the transcendent during the creating process. The artist is able to bring together vital elements from both poles to form a recognisable and compelling totality that invites the viewer on a silent, meditative journey.  In her series of drawings entitled Shadows, the artist establishes a focused and quiet presence. She is intrigued by the intangible, fluid, and elusive transition between what still exists and what has already vanished. It appears that we are witnessing a movement from one pole to the other, that we are in the midst of a transition, which in reality may be a departure or even an arrival. In her video work, which is included in her exhibition for the first time, the artist examines similar interactions.

Tina Konec's drawings and video in this exhibition were created during the current epidemic lockdown and isolation, when the artist lived and worked at her home in Oplotnica. Connected with the environment of Pohorje and the local coniferous trees, she created open, evocative images in which we can recognise numerous micro and macro forms or phenomena: wrinkles on the palms, water currents, clouds, hair, mists, fractals, the cosmos, etc. Tina Konec's drawings are, in fact, not just about coniferous trees; they also provide a glimpse into the world's hard-to-articulate nature, which occasionally flashes like a golden grain in the turbulent river of contemporary art—into the unfathomable range of being, extending from the deepest roots to the highest branches, rustling in the winds of freedom and inspiration.

Tina Konec was born in Maribor in 1992. In 2015, she graduated in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana under Professor Zmago Lenárdič. She completed her postgraduate studies in painting under the mentorship of Tugo Šušnik and Dr Nadja Zgonik in 2019 at the same institution, where she is also currently enrolled in the PhD programme in humanities and social sciences. She received the Grand Prix Award at the 53rd International Painting Ex-tempore in Piran for her work Crystallisation, in ink on paper (2018), as well as the Grand Prix at the Grožnjan Ex-tempore (2018 and 2021). She is also a recipient of the Prešeren Student Award (2019). She lives and works in Ljubljana and Oplotnica.

Part of the drawings in the exhibition were created with the support of a working grant from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

The video work Hommage is authored by Iztok Koren (music), Rožana Švara (editing), and Tina Konec (concept and filming).