Kakis' Colors Show Torment of Emotions

PUBLICATION: Columbus Dispatch, The (OH)


DATE: December 3, 1995

EDITION: Home Final

Page: 08H

In the three years since Juris Kakis has had an exhibition, his paintings have grown more expressive, more emotional and certainly darker.

"With each one, it's my passion I'm dealing with," Kakis said. He is thoroughly an individual, more interested in expressing himself than in following any trend.

His recent work bears the stamp of his personal torment of the past two years - the death of his mother. There is a mixture of sadness, frustration, anger, even guilt in the vigorously executed images. The bold expression and audacious palette of his images pull spectators into their emotional vortex. Kakis deals with his own emotions but finds echoes in viewers' hearts.

Through the years, Kakis has remained faithful to his subjects - the human face, flowers, horses, roosters and trees. A show of his work is a bit like finding old acquaintances piteously marked by the upheavals of life.

He paints in series, exploring the potential of a subject to satisfy his emotional needs of the moment. Pushing paint and brush around, layering pigments from light to dark, he often works eight hours at a stretch. The images are extensions of his thoughts and emotions; nothing about them is planned.

In less-trained hands, this approach would lead to chaos. Kakis admits that he often destroys the "warm-up paintings" of a series. Those that survive reveal that however emotionally charged they are, Kakis remains in control of their heavy, agitated lines and their intense palettes. His disquieting use of color is particularly successful in the dark Godfather (Self Portrait) and the raw Self Punishment.

In An Evolution, a series of eight paintings dealing with the horse, Kakis progresses through various palettes, from dark-purplish blues to cool blues, in what he calls "coming to term with emotions." While color is the vehicle for the dominant emotion of the moment, the lines in the images are the essential supports.

Kakis is a master of the linear approach, an approach best seen in paintings with fairly subdued colors, such as the powerful Le Chanteur or the small, exquisite Zelta Abele (Golden Tree).

Although wrenching emotions may have been the main motivations in Kakis' recent paintings, gentler, lighter, more tranquil moods also have marked his work. These are noticeable in his images of flowers, such as Red Roses; in the portrait of a rosy-cheeked woman he called La Chinoise; or in his vigorous interpretation of roosters, which he entitles Chantecler.

This strong show should appeal to Kakis' numerous fans.

- Jacqueline Hall