On My Shores is an exhibition featuring the work of Bosnia-Herzegovinian painter Branimir Bartulović opened at the gallery of the Dubrovnik branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation.
Na mojim obalama (On My Shores) is an exhibition featuring the work of Bosnia-Herzegovinian painter Branimir Bartulović opened at the gallery of the Dubrovnik branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation.
In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition Marin Ivanović writes:
“Just as the title suggest, Branimir Bartulović’s On My Shores series is in all facets an intimate tale. The peace it exudes is the product of great fields of clean earthly gamut, the sun-scalded soil in the sapping late summer. The evocation of Dalmatia’s past and present is brought to life in the ‘deafening trochee’ of crickets in the crowns of pine trees, the tart scent of salt and red wine, over-ripe bursting figs and a ‘muted night beneath a low sky’.
Bartulović seeks minimalism in colour and form. It would be pejorative to say that painted surfaces in a single tone are nothing more than a substrate to the motifs because the overall, already mentioned impression they have on the observer is largely initiated precisely by this treatment of the space occupied by the painting. The scene is flanked by the characteristic Dalmatian spatial ‘signals’ – cypress trees, stone portals and windows, millstones, chapels and crosses, the odd medieval edifice, a fish or sailboat. It is clear to us that the apparent simplicity of these paintings and the thematised settings are in fact overflowing with motifs, elements of diverse forms the existence of which is almost a motif imperative to the artist. Space is entirely abrogated, and forms reduced. Individual paintings are intersected with transversals in several pastel colours, each again in one tone possessing its own symbolic value – the sea, forest, sky or fields. In a regular procession, one above the other, they acquire the capacity to suggest space that in one painting is ‘severed’ through the middle by a slender cypress tree. This melancholic gaze into the distance, towards the marine horizon, in some measure awakens modernistic solutions in other Mediterranean scenes of minimalist orientation. Branimir Bartulović’s native Dalmatian region has predicated his themes, his desire to achieve the landscape that surrounds him on the canvas is not learned, but rather inherited, imbedded and wedged between the head and hand, and every stroke he makes contains within it this same Dalmatian karst even when he is not painting it, when it is not itself the topic. The presence of a woman’s form in some paintings, in a stylised form the basis of which is not entirely founded, is interesting; at times we observe the act from the back, another time dressed in a toga pointing to a mortar, a third time peeking from behind a house. It is a subtle reminder of the intimate story that imbues this series.
The granular surface of the painter’s canvas is reminiscent of the coarse fabric of peasant jute sacks, those used to store the hard-earned fruits of this meagre soil. This series, truly full of symbolism, gentle sensibility and themes that many can associate with, calls to mind the many images and words used to describe Dalmatia – a verse cited by vintners in Šibenik sums up its incisiveness: ‘The meagre soil keeps its treasures, every grain like the heart in middle, little grows and yields hardly any, but what it gives is thrice valued.'”
Branimir Bartulović was born in Blato na Cetini in 1955. He gradated from the Art Academy in Široki Brijeg in the class of professor Ante Kajinić, where he also earned his master’s degree in 2005 in the study of sacral art (Ars sacra). He works as an associate professor at the Art Academy in Široki Brijeg. He has exhibited at numerous solo and group showings, has participated in the work of many domestic and international art events and has published three collections of poetry. In 2005 Stanko Špoljarić published a monograph of his work.