ATTILA RICHARD LUKACS
Macaulay and Co. Fine Art, Vancouver
Oct. 30 to Dec. 15, 2014
By Helena Wadsley
"Coloured Laundry on Hibiscus Tree"
Attila Richard Lukacs, "Coloured Laundry on Hibiscus Tree," 2014, oil on canvas, 24" x 30".
A whorl of paint containing various tones of brown efficiently carves out the flat slice of a tree stump. Twisting and unfurling brushstrokes describe the density of ackee trees and begonia bushes, tropical flora from Hawaii. These latest paintings give the impression that Attila Richard Lukacs, who divides his time between Maui and Vancouver, now finds everything he needs in his backyard – the one in Hawaii, that is.
Attila Richard Lukacs, "Coral," 2014, oil on canvas, 20" x 20".
Many of these works take the viewer right to the corner of a backyard dense with growth. In some, such as Coloured Laundry on Hibiscus, clothes are ambushed by greenery. Leaves are densely painted, so vibrant and vital this work recalls the theosophical leanings of Emily Carr, made evident in her paintings of the same subject, trees. For the theosophist, nature emanates with energy and light; it is a single organic entity. In contrast to Carr, Lukacs is less concerned with spirituality in nature, but does impart its raw energy, even in the cultivated setting of a backyard. Painted branches seem to sway, the sense of motion achieved with well-practiced turns of a brush loaded with a range of greens. Lukacs seems both spare and exuberant in his paint application. Brighter hues in hanging clothes or begonia flowers are thinly applied, but the earthy greens are generous. Textures are scratched in, intensifying the surface play.
"Ackee Tree with Begonia and Bee Boxes"
Attila Richard Lukacs, "Ackee Tree with Begonia and Bee Boxes," 2014, oil on canvas, 24" x 24".
Although known for figurative paintings that were overtly homo-erotic, scenes of lounging nude male skinheads, for example, Lukacs seems to shun human company in these works, indicating its presence only by the sparse application of paint in the hanging laundry, and in a single portrait, Fred. Isolated in a separate room, it shows Fred sitting regally, shirtless and in cut-off jeans, with his hand around a rooster’s neck. It lacks the emotion so prominent in other works. Of these, Coral is the most abstract. A massive fungus ripples out from the base of a tree. By contrast, A Stump is the most readable composition; in it a single stump is placed in the centre, with a small tree sitting directly above it, hemmed in from the top by a row of logs. But the subject matter is abstruse. Lukacs appears to be looking not for beauty in nature, but comfort.
"Banana Grove with Chair"
Attila Richard Lukacs, "Banana Grove with Chair," 2014, oil on canvas, 30" x 30".
Focusing on this specific and familiar location allows a liberating process of investigation, a way of finding more where there is less – so much of the vitality found in the microcosm of a domestic garden could easily go unnoticed in the greater wilderness beyond the fence.