Yuri Arajs, "Untitled (snow)," 2008, detail, acrylic, graphite, iron dust, varnish, on wood, 23.5" X 47".
YURI ARAJS, Untitled (Weather)
View Gallery, Victoria
May 28 to June 20, 2009
By Beverly Cramp
Yuri Arajs calls himself a landscape painter, though many would disagree with him. As a minimalist who occasionally likes to use text in his work, he says people who look at his paintings often don’t see landscapes. “Maybe it’s because of my simplistic, minimal way of painting,” he says. Arajs spare works are also different in that he doesn’t paint on canvas. He primarily paints on wood surfaces and found metal, and the texture of those materials informs Arajs’ work. His solo show in Victoria is all new work. “Most of my paintings depict the sky and above the horizon. It allows me to focus on what happens in that area.” Certainly weather occurs on the West Coast, and Arajs’ exhibition aptly includes that word in its title. Arajs is also interested in what he calls activity, and how he uses that in his pieces about weather. To explain further, he points to one of the new works called Snow. “You’re watching the snow blow across a barren landscape driven by a gust of wind you don’t see.” Though his work is minimalist, Arajs spends many hours and days contemplating each painting before he paints a splash of color. “My work takes a tremendous amount of time to come out of me,” he says. “I wait for things to tell me what to do.”
Yuri Arajs is represented by: View Gallery, Victoria; Gallery 360, Minneapolis, MN