Milan Mrkusich

Four elements: Yellow and Dark

Four elements: Yellow and Dark by Milan Mrkusich

Artwork Detail

Alongside Gordon Walters, Milan Mrkusich is a pioneer of abstract art in New Zealand. As is often the case with abstract painting, Mrkusich's work is passionately interpreted in quite different ways. For some, his geometric abstraction is exemplary for its refined and disciplined formalism, clarified through a spare vocabulary of painting's intrinsic properties. For others, Mrkusich's own claim that he is interested in representing the immaterial through the material proves that he is most strongly motivated by art's capacity to express or facilitate transcendental insight and illumination. This is a rich problem to have, and it recalls the way Mondrian's early symbolist painting is often rationalised as prefiguring the austere formality of his later work. With Mrkusich's Emblem and Element paintings it is reasonable to claim that familiarity with Jung's discussion of squared circles and archetypal geometry, for instance, has informed his understanding of abstraction as an essentialist language of signs and symbols communicating internal, spiritual truths. With later paintings, however, when the hieratic symbolism or dramatic play between painterly and linear elements is toned right down, it is much more difficult to make unequivocal statements about the work's meaning. Four Elements: yellow and dark is transitional between the earlier, overtly expressive paintings, and the more serene geometry of Mrkusich's mature work. (from The Guide, 2001)

Four elements: Yellow and Dark
Milan Mrkusich
Production date
oil on canvas
2210 x 685 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Miss L D Gilmour, 1977
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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