In his work of the last several years Pavel Kraus has presented sculptural/architectonic
objects at the edge of identity. These sculptural constructions referenced
the body in abstract sculptural metaphors, representing the interpretive
limits of physicality. His recent return to the more graphic medium
of painting elides that body’s projected mystical aspirations
through a questioning of the parameters of allusory embodiment. Although
non-iconic or illustrative, Kraus intends his materials to engage
metaphorically rather than to be merely exemplary of process.
Where the sculptural objects palpable surface topographies reference
morphology, the intangible and luminous delicacy of the “Levitation”
works, as ‘spirit traps’, picture the ephemeral: graphically,
temporally fixed. More evidentiary trace than image, discrepancy between
surface and depth register as inherent in the qualities of the materials’
almost lapidary opalescence. In a type of post-modern ‘glasmalerisch’
Kraus benignly facilitates a spread of liquids which coalesce organically
into a ‘gestural’ iteration. A quality of weightless,
timeless ‘being’ is sought in the overt optical sensuousness
of the saturated colors given form on the contoured surfaces of planar
skins; as if the color itself produced its structural appearance.
The physical materiality of the medium is not obscured, yet it conveys
more mystery than it transparently reveals, suspended between allusion
and the merely decorative, metaphor and presence.
When Kraus interjects the unlikely possibility of ‘faith’
into a reading of his sculpture or painting he is not alluding to
issues pertaining to a critique of the exhaustion of the mediums’
expressive viability or literal use in illustrating social identity.
He is problematically and intentionally invoking a self-awareness
and desire for the numinous.
Kraus intends this work to represent and provoke a musing on his own
(and our collective) mortality, and the role of an ineffable creator.
This reverie is mediated by the artistic object, the making if which
subjectifies the creative process as experience for the maker, but
the object then assumes an autonomous identity as artifact. It’s
physical object hood is measured against a conceptual blue-print of
its ideal form. Platonic metaphysics and Christian dogma would seem
to elicit both a measured contemplation and a more romantically mythic
response in the viewer. Reception of a sense of spiritual conviction
or aesthetically expressive content must ultimately be triggered by
the object itself as both ‘topos’ and ‘telos’,
a location of indeterminacy between physical presence and conceptual
transparency. While the production of a work could be constructed
as redemptive, salvation remains tied to the conceptual rather than
If metaphor is an agent for a potentiality of recovery of meaning,
in Baudrillardian terms, that distinction be made between dissimulation
and simulation. A question of presence or absence is constructed,
a relational truth-table of sorts, that proposes a psychological semiotics
of the real and the imagined. Hermeneutic analysis spins in linguistic
slippage where image/object repels (con)-textual content. As all remarks
of faith demarcate themselves simultaneously unquestionable and unverifiable,
veracity becomes subservient to pragmatics. Any sense of the numinous
harbors itself in impenetrable subjectivity. In questions of artistic
object hood facts (presence) of material form conflate with interpretive
models of narrative coding. The prosaic vies with romanticized poesis
creating an anagogic frisson between the immanent and the transcendent.
Objects mediate the world and our experience of it. How we use interpretive
data resides in our subjective capacity for credulity and forms the
limits of faith.