Aleš Valčík

Aleš Valčík is the other member of Studio Valčík who focuses exclusively on painting. Even though he joined the studio as a trained photographer, he has remained loyal to the medium of painting. In addition to the genres of the landscape, veduta and seascape, Aleš Valčík cultivates rarer watercolor genres. We might speculate about whether or not watercolors with their tension between blurred and focused shapes are not close to the original photographic picture. We might also search for common photographic and painting elements hidden in the picture-postcard nature of the veduta and seascape, but this would only lead to a very vague understanding of the paintings presented by Studio Valčík. In the beginning a moderated limiting of genre and technique was characteristic for the studio. This homogeneity of genre was later disrupted by the introduction of bouquets and the occasional still-life, loyalty to technique remained. It was if variability in terms of genre was the common denominator of Studio Valčík and variability in terms of technique is the differential element. We can however look even deeper. The Valčíks vary in the type of landscapes they paint. While Josef is renowned for his monochromatic and idealized landscapes and Magda for her polychromatic, specific and universalized Moravian and Bohemian landscapes, Aleš’s landscapes are just as colorful as his sister’s but much more varied in terms of theme. He not only paints local domestic scenes, but often ventures to exotic, foreign locales as well as urban settings. In terms of technique, Josef Valčík prefers a broader, more plastic brushstroke while Magda is inclined to the polarity of small, pastose splotches and broad swaths of color. In contrast, Aleš as a painter of watercolors takes advantage of the contrast between transparent or translucent colored spaces and the impenetrable shapes of nature and civilization. In addition to color, light that shines through the variable colored medium to the substrate also plays an important role in his painting. This substrate is most often white. Light reflects off it, sometimes remains captured or may even be partly consumed and selectively reflected depending on the character of the pigments used. The light may even form a curtain, a covering that casts shadows of varying intensity. For this reason the elements of water and air play a much more important role in the paintings of Aleš than they do for his father or sister. Not only are they best served by the watercolor technique, they are contained within the medium itself. This is also why his paintings have a low horizon, meaning that the sky covers a large area. This is counterbalanced by the large surfaces of lakes and the sea. These two elements create a horizontal composition. These two horizontal areas are linked by a variety of vertical forms: most often trees and the stems of flowers but also ships’ masts and chimneys. The varying, constantly changing qualities of the sky and water surfaces is in contrast with the stable color qualities of trees, houses and ships. The crowns of trees, flowers and splotches on tree trunks are areas where the horizontal and vertical come into contact, creating a scintillating effect. Watercolors truly are somewhere between painting and photography. While the photographic picture is created by the physical effects of light that not only develops the colors but is interned within them, the watercolor picture is created by the physical effects of colored pigments and water. Trails of light, which trails of color combine and rhythmically amplify, are characteristic for this partly deliberate, painter-controlled orchestration and partly accidental natural game. Perhaps it is this intermediate position that most suits Aleš Valčík.

Professor Marian Zervan, Ph.D. (b. 1952) is a theoretician and esthetician in the fields of art and contemporary architecture. I is the author of books of sacred iconography and as a curator has organized exhibitions on Slovak architecture at home and abroad. He has also written the catalogs for these exhibitions. He is an assistant professor at both the Faculty of Architecture of the Slovak Technical University in Bratislava and the College of Fine Arts in Bratislava.