Janis Avotins

Untitled, 2017

  • Medium:Acrylic on Canvas
  • Dimensions:201 x 349 cm

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About the Artwork

Untitled, 2017

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It is curious, perhaps, that Latvian artist Janis Avotins chooses to utilise colour almost exclusively in his abstract work, his figurative paintings forced to exist in the gradient between black and white. In his abstractions, he begins with the same source images, but empties them of their imagery in a different kind of censorship, removing faces and the emblematic signs of provenance instead of plucking the figures themselves from their backgrounds.

In abstractions such as this, Avotins lets chance act as a method of reflection; for him, “the subject matter is not what one is able to see, but rather, what one is able to perceive in the image.” Multiple kinetic elements move the viewer’s eye across the painting, blending the muted tones of the source images with the brighter yellow background. Yet there is a sense that something is missing, perhaps due to hints of the blank canvas showing through the paint. It is this perception of what is absent that imbues Avotins’ work with the eerie gravity for which he has become known.