Painter - Franc Vozelj

Franc Vozelj - painter

The Academy-qualified painter Franc Vozelj has become established as one of the most interesting representatives of Slovene figural painting. His extensive artistic opus, which encompasses an intense sequence of three decades, evinces a trust in the communicative power of the classical subjects of fine art, such as the human figure and still life.

Owing to the purity of the creative starting points and the focus on the human figure as the main bearer of the artist’s message, his future straight artistic path was predicted by the reviewers of Vozelj’s first public showings. Dr. Cene Avguštin pointed out on the painter’s first solo exhibition in Kranj in 1981: "The development of Franc Vozelj’s painting is logical, consistent and also dynamic, and has progressed in an incessant struggle between plastic and picturesque artistic expression, between constructively and then again deconstructively oriented design currents, between pure art and a deep probing of substance. In this dynamic weave of artistic creation the artist remains extremely open to his fellow man, whose physical and psychological presence is the basic theme of his depictions."

The figural art with modernist innovations which Franc Vozelj gradually mastered on the basis of diverse influences (his education and the artistic opus of the professors at the Ljubljana fine art academy, the array of fine art at the end of the 1970s, certain older artists) had few adherents in Slovene painting around 1980. The "new image" was regarded as the current thing, yet of the orientations that flirted with postmodernism, Vozelj was interested only in a form of new age expressionism, wherby he was also able to look back to older foreign and local examples (such as Francis Bacon, Vladimir Veličković and Marij Pregelj). We could say that Vozelj opted for an artistic path which in terms of substantive expression was more moderate, yet formally had more gravitas.

hand Franc Vozelj
signature Franc Vozelj

"Still lifes have undergone a similar development to that of figural composition. They are marked with all the constant features of Vozelj’s artistic manuscript. Mention should be made of the convincing artistic emphases, collage, the traces of drawing, the gentle stylisation and geometric analysis, as well as the search for harmony between the motif and background, the darker margin, which closes the space of the painting, the subordination of the motif to the structure of the painter’s surface and the characteristic fusing of colour, which Vozelj achieves through virtuoso brush strokes.
The colour, which ranges from muted to radiant, helps to shape mood and form. Tonal modelling has been replaced by colour perspective and the stressing of light effects. The depicted objects have changed into patches of colour. The motif is composed of a mosaic weave of colours, which Franc Vozelj has applied to the canvas in relatively wide strokes. The play of silvery and gold sunlight infuses the still lifes with a singular mood."

Damir Globočnik
© Painter - Franc Vozelj