Olja Ristic paints nature and its healing power, like Matisse who wrote once that he sought to create an art that would be a "soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue".
Her compositions oscillate between abstraction and figuration, sometimes within a single work in which colour is an entity that create a meaning.
Olja Ristic (1971, Serbia) is an artist living and working in Serbia. She studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Prishtine where she graduated in 1995, and obtained her MA degree in 2001. Since 2002, Olja has been a member of the Association of Fine Artists of Serbia (ULUS), and her work has been the subject of 12 solo exhibitions.
In early 2004, she discovered that she was suffering from leukemia and her life has changed. She spent that summer in Italy.
This is where her attitude towards herself and painting has changed. There, in Italy, Rome, Neples, and Capri, her searching for healing has begun, a searching for a new light in herself, for the strength to start all over again. And that is where the cycle "Searching for the Light" has begun.
Her paintings are in notable private collections in France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Croatia, Canada, Morocco, Tunisia, Greece and Serbia.
Mediterranean Mediterranean by Olja Ristic
MIhailo Kandic, art historian
The Mediterranean spirit is rather rare in contemporary Serbian art. Yet it has a loyal advocate in the painter Olja Ristic. Picasso, Matisse, Capri, indigo, blue, richly saturated colours and light, all come through in abundance in the painter’s Searching for Light cycle. Olja Ristic’s epiphany – the discovery of colour and light as the basis of her painting – resonates with Picasso’s Mediterranean motifs: his Mediterranean landscapes, interiors, open windows, fragrant gardens and agave flowers. Her own paintings from the sunny and hot Italian south are sheer poetry. Moved by the rich emotion sparked by the landscape, her paintings are a reflection of a deep artistic sensitivity that can effortlessly uncover the beauty of the location; Olja Ristic recognised the visual and colouristic splendour that only an artist’s eye can identify. A painter from a landlocked region, she has in one moment on Capri captured the essence of the Mediterranean and transferred it onto the canvas.
And oh, the paintings!
The "indigo paintings" by Olja Ristic: cactuses bathed in light, Mediterranean flowers, Iris germanica, Lilium bulbiferum, their colours so saturated and vibrant, jostle for space in the dazzling Mediterranean light, on the background of the dominant indigo and blue. Many arsts have experienced their creative epiphany after visiting Paris. To Olja Ristic, this happened on Capri and Santorini. The paintings are so vivid and immediate that a glance at them brings the Mediterranean in. The same Mediterranean that was first discovered by French Modern artists, from Picasso to Matisse. They were all masters of colour, just as Olja Ristic is, who continues their Mediterranean poetics as if no time between them has passed at all. It is hard to detect the generational distance, the time gap between the canvases of the great French painters and those of Olja Ristic. If one were to exhibit their works together, they would stand as a visual intertext, "the same but slightly diferent" visual expression, so that their canvases, painted from diferent personal stances, would yet constitute a common feld: the feld of Mediterranean painting. These are the very paintings that Olja Ristc generously and strongly presents at this exhibition of the cycle Searching for Light.
Winnipeg free press
Born in 1971. Olja Ristic seems to pack her work with both tension and ease at the same time - some works look constrained or framed in tightly, with vertical stripes that look like prison bars, and yet plants and flowers seems to thrive within them.
Both in color, and perhaps to same degree in her theme, Ristic's work recalls German artists like August Macke - in Macke's case his sad figures and swirling tones represented the turbulent years of First World War, where he was eventually killed in battle. and in Ristic's case, the healing power of art, represented by boxed-in painting of a plant, seems to be the only source of stability of life, in a otherwise sterile or even hostile world.
2010. Tivat, Montenegro, Buća Art Gallery.
2010. Niš, Serbia, NKC Art Gallery.
2008. Paraćin, Serbia, KC Art Gallery.
2007. Kragujevac, Serbia, Mostovi Balkana Art Gallery.
2006. Sombor, Serbia, "Laza Kostić" Art Gallery.
2006. Winnipeg - Manitoba, Canada, Ken Segal Gallery.
2005. Apatin, Serbia, Meander Art Gallery.
2004. Bečići, Montenegro, Splendid Hotel Art Gallery.
2003. Belgrade, Serbia, SULUJ Gallery.
2000. Herceg Novi, Montenegro, Sue Ryder Gallery.
2000. Kragujevac, Serbia, Minor Art Salon Gallery, National Museum of Kragujevac.