MARC STRAUS proudly presents its second solo show of new paintings by Croatian artist Zlatan Vehabović.
Vehabović’s current body of work embodies literary adventure themes, such as men at sea and fantastical animals, including a huge beached whale like creature. These works are inspired by the song “My Donal,” written in the 1960s by Scottish author Owen Hand. The song’s narrative, set around the 17th or 18th century, addresses the pain endured by the worrying wives of whalers as they grappled with the uncertainty of what would happen to their husbands while at sea. In Cursed Crew, Vehabović mesmerizes us with his use of color: the azure blue of the sea beckons us while the reflections of lights on the whalers’ faces warn us to keep our distance. Similarly, the work titled Grytviken engulfs the viewer in a haunting sea of darkness as the stark white iceberg looms under the still, grey sky.
“My Donal” yielded an entire body of work that confronts three issues: the relationship of a separated couple, adventure, and Foucault’s notion of heterotopia, or the concept of describing spaces and places that function outside of social structures, with rules of their own that are uninfluenced by the outside world. Vehabović asserts, “It is rare that so many personal and important notions can be found in one single song.”
Vehabović earned his Ph.D. in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia. Vehabović is among the most highly regarded young artist in Croatia having won First Prize for Zagreb Salon 2010, The International Association of Art Critics (AICA) Award 2010, as well as an Essl Award in 2007, (Emerging Artists in Southeast Europe) 2010, and with solo exhibits in 2011 and 2013 at Lauba Museum in Zagreb, Kranjcar Gallery, Zagreb (2011). Selected group exhibitions include: Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2011). The Knoxville Museum of Art (2011). Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, NY (2010). Essl Museum (2009). Paolo Maria Deanesi Gallery, Rovereto Italy (2010). Museum of Contemporary Art, Pula (2009). Werket Museum, Avesta Sweden (2008). S&G Galleries, Berlin (2008).