Latvian's Maturing Work Richer, Darker

PUBLICATION: Columbus Dispatch, The (OH)


DATE: November 29, 1987


Page: F7

Juris Kakis' latest work continues the exciting process of growth, maturation and depth begun in his paintings a few years ago.

Gone, for example, is the innocence of the Latvian's all-over floral motifs with their cheerful, decorative and innocuous content.

This year, more than ever with Kakis' exhibitions, visitors to Ohio Dominican College's Wehrle Gallery, 1216 Sunbury Rd., will be faced with the anger, pain and torment of Kakis' life experienced, apparently, at its most intense levels.

THERE STILL are a few flowers here and there - as in Eesti Tudruk (a small bouquet) and Rudens Ziedi (November bouquet) - but they have lost the lush quality of summer. Instead, they speak of the dried mementoes of long-gone youth and half-forgotten carefree happiness.

The Latvian folklore, which has given Kakis' work its special stamp, is not gone, but its bright palette has been replaced by a darker one. Works that once were full of light, lively patterns have taken on a disturbing and compelling presence.

There is a magnetic power in those faces, power that coalesces out of impetuous brushwork and tortuous lines. The eyes of Kakis' subjects reflect smoldering passions. The whole gallery seems caught in the fiery mood.

Instead of the melancholy tone, there is vocal anguish. Kakis no longer paints to please the eye but to express deep emotions that can transform the prettiest face into a demonic one.

NO LONGER bland, his work is forceful, almost oppressive in its intensity. Occasionally, a face suggests spent passions or a soul tempered by the vicissitudes of life.

And perhaps as a symbol of survival against all odds, the rooster appears as a new subject.

It is the most powerful show yet by this artist. No viewer will remain indifferent; some will love these canvases, others will hate them. They will touch a nerve for all.

- Jacqueline Hall