It was a rainy afternoon day when I visited Peter Krausz atelier in Montreal’s Mile End area. This spacious work space lend itself to a sense of settlement which easily made me feel that I was more than a guest but at home. Peter greeted me with his usual charm and began to show me around.
I immediately began to understand that Peter was a true storyteller whether he used photographs or paintings to convey his world to the one outside the doors of his atelier. One obvious element that surface during our conversation was the fact that he knew early on what he wanted to be because he came from a family of artists. His days that stretched through the decades of change paralleled much of the transitions the rest of the world. Events like the spread of communism through much of eastern Europe that eventually engulfed his home land, Roumania. His family’s escape to Italy then to Canada marked a continuous upheaval of search which becomes evident in his works.
When I asked him about the difficulties he had to endure as an artist and his development through the years his answer reflected much of the skill and snew a master of life would have; he had to forgo all he had learned during his studies in art school to embrace what was happening in the art world. He only returned to older techniques after coming to terms with the art scene. His use of fresco, mixing of egg and colorings and applying again and again instead of squeezing oil colors from a tube defined what Peter as an artist was, he had made the full circle.
His current exhibition which I visited showed various landscapes he had captured around Mediterranean. He evinced that these scenes were his attempts to get back to the days of his childhood, the landscapes, Transylvania or perhaps innocence. His composition devoid of human figures evoke a sense of tranquility one may find at an older age. Understanding his art and his compositions ajar a door to his world, a man who has seen much, knew how to tell his story.
I asked him about the etchings he had of his parents which were done with charcoal. His unabashed manner of presenting human form in all of its subtle grace not only made appreciate the space that is marked by birth and death but also how one could come to terms with imperfection of human form.
Peter’s modus operandi is he works alone with a selection of classic music, preferably opera. On the very day of my visit, opera was the choice of music setting the tone of our interview. His various trinkets around the atelier indicated a life fully lived. Of course, this made me wonder why would a man who has had this joie de vivre return to the places that were remote. He indicated that his solitude was what allowed him to see nature’s subtle play on colors. Brush stroke after brush stroke of laying colors until it took hues of golden rays caress on an autumn day made all the more sense. This was Peter’s vision which he took as souvenirs from these lands and transplanted them in his studio.
His diligent appliance of colors created a harmony in his paintings that is perhaps lost on today’s art scene. Louder, bolder, more shocking seems to be the theme of the day. As jarring as this is, the world can do with some balancing of yin yang, how about some classic rendition of landscapes, I say.
It is risky to be saying that I choose to paint landscapes because since the turn of the 18th century, works especially from masters like Van Gogh to Cezanne have virtually closed the door on classic renditions of landscapes. So why another landscape ? Why not ? If the rendition speaks of style that is unique and contains an emotion that is captivating by all means any artist who is inclined to try his/her hand at it should do so. Sadly, most would not venture in that direction. This leaves masters like Peter Krausz ready to take face the future with a story.
OZ YILMAZ – Portragram