“Enlightenment III” was the third painting I’ve created in Croatia, after my return from the graduate study at Cal State University, Long Beach in California. I wanted to expand on the theme of schematic abstract figures that were the subject of my graduate art thesis “brokenFIXED.” Since I was painting with acrylics instead of drawing with black ink, I had an opportunity to introduce some color, and red was my favorite at the time. I’ve created this figure from imagination, without any reference, using a schematic structure of human figure I learned in anatomy for the artist studies.
Another source of inspiration were the Eastern Orthodox icons, maybe because I was painting on a panel. The circle in the background is a motive I’ve used in abstract drawings, and in recent paintings with watercolors. It’s a reference to the mandala of Tibetan Buddhism and C.G. Jung’s analytical psychology. The green moon is a reference to Islam. The title “Enlightenment” refers to the spiritual state common to all world’s great religions.
After years of creating artwork about an absence of faith, this painting marked my return to the search for spirituality.
What do you think — what does this nameless figure feel? Pain or joy? How do you read the meaning of the bright red color of its skin?