Guest post by Ruth Gador.
Jiri Tibor Novak’s exhibition, Ninety Postcards showcases an array of ninety individual postcards, all created during his most recent travels throughout Europe.
Exclusive to the Boom Gallery, Geelong, this stunning exhibition documents Tibor’s journey through each unique postcard creation.
The postcards feature abstract watercolour paintings, etchings and prints of the places, people and landmarks most memorable to him throughout his journey.
Over a period of four months (ninety days, to be precise), Tibor travelled through Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Czech Republic and returned to Belgium and Germany. Working from a sketchbook, at the conclusion of each day a postcard would be created and sent back home to friends and Boom Gallery.
It is fascinating to see how each postcard is a distinct, meaningful viewing experience – each one completely different from the last. Whether it be the flat landscapes of Holland, or various depictions of his favourite city, Berlin, each postcard evokes an atmosphere unique to the place in which it was created.
Jiri Tibor Novak, South Bohemia’s Rooftops, 2014, tempera on paper, 85 x 65 cm. (Image courtesy Boom Gallery.)
Tibor’s warmth and Czech/Hungarian charm are reflected in his work, as is an appreciation of the beauty of everyday life. Be it through bursts of vibrant colour, or through more muted, placid tones, his ability to capture the characteristics of each place is truly remarkable.
One gets the sense that they too have travelled. Whether it be sweet, fleeting moments of simplicity – a woman walking a dog in Paris, a glimpse of a tiny alleyway – or perhaps the more significant, awesome sights, such as the oldest building in his hometown of Prague, it is evident that each postcard invites the viewer to delve deep into the European cultural world and soak up it’s pot of wonders.
Jiri Tibor Novak, Township, 2014, pen and ink on paper, 36 x 26cm. (Image courtesy Boom Gallery.)
I am mesmerised by the sheer quantity of them all. I listen to the cascading waterfall of Tibor’s voice as he talks of his love of literature and text. His background as an illustrator has influenced his passion for printmaking and etchings; the fifteenth century Flemish Primitives are his inspiration. He insists that music and poetry are the higher art forms; however I beg to differ as I handle each beautifully crafted postcard with a gentle caress. With his lilting Czech accent, he is a born storyteller as much as an artist.
It is a feast for the eyes, a visual treat. A postcard a day.
About Jiri Tibor Novak
Tibor is responsible for many solo shows and books here in Australia and overseas. He has been a dedicated contributor to the arts in the Geelong and Surfcoast area having taught at The Gordon TAFE and mentored many young artists over the last 15 years. One of his recent endeavours was an artist book titled Visitors (a limited edition of 12), made in collaboration with Gregory Day. It is now in the collections of Deakin University, University of Queensland, National Library of Australia, State Library of NSW and Victoria. Tibor is well known for his quirky and engaging artworks. His paintings are delicate, poetic and whimsical. He works with gouache and watercolour, and also makes etchings and oil paintings.
You can read an interview with Tibor in an earlier post here: 20 questions for artist illustrator Jiri Tibor Novak