Jana Pivovarníková's creative work of art dwells predominantly in the sphere of painting. The paintress, however, devotes her creativity to drawing and sporadically to small sculpture. Simultaneously she is active in the theory of art, which is related both to her studies (she graduated in the field of art history at The Faculty of Arts, Comenius University in year 1974) and to her unusual fate. Her activities in the mentioned fields are harmonically interrelated. Her theoretical creativity is outbalanced with an intensive work with material (mass of color and light), which lately has finally turned the scale. Such attunement of related fields is in the Slovak environment, or even European for that matter, rather unusual; it is, however, nothing exceptional in other cultures. Thus it might be said that the authoress is beside certain regional clichés.


Even if her wide scope is considered, Jana Pivovarníková is predominantly a paintress. She might be considered truly an intrinsic painter because picture painting is a necessity for her and painting is a primary means to self-expression and self-knowledge.


The artist consciously communicates by means of her pictures with the medium of painting and thrives to investigate its essence. She tries to avoid transitory vogue or momentary trends and develops her own program with outstanding individualistic iconography. In relation to such investigation and discovering the painting medium as a form of self-expression she is tied to one evolutionary line of European painting. Using minimalist means and meditative, introvert character is characteristic of this line of painting.


Creative work of art, painting in this particular case, is a deeply sincere proof of the artist's personality. Pictures thus gradually become a reflection of the unfolding creator's inner world. More and more the artist's canvas becomes a mirror. Work of Jana Pivovarníková's art is also of such character. Most of all, I consider her painting an intimate personal statement of a sensitive human being. The statement is about her self, about the process she undergoes, about her inner world. A meditative character of her paintings suggests this as well as the role she ascribes to her art. Therefore being truthful characterizes Jana's pictures far more than goodliness or eagerness to be appreciated by the viewer.


The paintress' grasp of painting and creating work of art is not isolated in Slovakia. We could find among Slovak painters, even in contemporary painting, more of those whose understanding of painting is related. Typical imagery rooted in sensing landscape and gentle poetics (in some sense related to nature and landscape) on a formal level expressed especially by specific work with colors and concept of light is characteristic of one line of Slovak painting and some 20th century Slovak painters. Simultaneously, each of those painters evolved a specific individual mythology, which represented the basis for artistic experiments.


In Jana's work of art it is possible to observe a process of cultivation of forms and means of expression. It is related not only to her work with color but also to her grasp of the topic. Figure motif rooted in personal mythology is a bearer of action within the painter. Concrete forms or reference to them undergo a process of strong stylization and abstraction. For the author they present more a means of solving the problem of relatedness between color and light, which she is focused on in her paintings. That might be considered as one of the key moments of Jana's creative work of art. In this sense then it is not the primary motif but the inner contents of her paintings. Figural topics (woman, horse rider with a horse, moon, meditating figure, horses) the author repeatedly presents in her work of art and returns to them in the form of programmed series are in fact but a symbol of their selves. They refer to the artist's individual vision and back again to her inner world. They refer to the inner world of the artist, of our selves, to the universal inner world of human beings.


Jana's pictures catch predominantly these inner worlds hidden to our unfocused sight. The author and the viewer might both disclose them via meditation on symbols guiding the way in the pictures. It is one of the lofty aims of fine arts to show and discern the hidden or the unknown worlds. I presume that it was the meditation on symbols she painted that led her to new and unexpected spheres. Thus she could gradually move from lands the horizon of which could shape forms of mountains or lonely hills into the depth of Earth and herself. She concentrated on less concrete space. This space she gradually began to disclose through her paintings is the picture of her inner world. The paintress catches the imaginary space in the inner world of the being, the world of her own inner feelings and experience. This world she fills with light. The topic, to whatever degree personal and stylized, gets rather to the background. Being is more than human being and each human being is limitless as said by Henri Michaux in one of his poems. Thus the individual ebbs away to the universal.


In these paintings unusual introspection might be found related to a certain kind of asceticism. There is self-reflection in the topics of her pictures and the process of simplification of the artistic language. A limited space with horizon that might be found in her earlier pictures is changed step by step into a limitless space as real as the one visible to our eyes.


For these pictures of inner lands a broad scale of predominant blue hues is characteristic supplemented by contrasting warm colors. This typical colorism and grasping of her color scheme allow highlighting the light quality of colors. Blue is the color of night, sleep, deep meditation and concentration. It is not disturbing, rather satisfying and mysterious at the same time. In Jana's pictures it has a function of an element that binds the structure of the whole picture into a harmonious whole. Under a close inspection of this blue color there is a whole scale of soft refined warm and cold color hues. The color scale thus evokes in the viewer some gentle music or a sad night singing. Sometimes it turns into a colorful waterfall lit up by moonlight or starlight.


In spite of the depth of this imaginative and in a certain sense spiritual space caught in Jana's pictures, these gentle pictures are at the same time the pictures of light. The light filtered by personal experience. The light the vision of which the paintress could get through an intensive process of investigation of color potential. The light understood as one of the essences of true art of painting. It is an unusual light seen by inner sight of a painter or a person merged in meditation. This universal light reminds us of windowpanes in medieval cathedrals. It is an invisible light permeating mass and space and bringing spiritual quality to it. The paintress touches one of the keystones of painting medium, grasping the light either real or imaginative.


It is such work with color that the artist allows the viewer to submerge in a more concentrated manner into the picture. The way in which Jana deals with the color mass is rather unusual. It is nearly the attitude of a sculptor, similar to the one in which she sculpts her delicate statues. Gently and yet with a concentrated power she amasses moderate color layers which in the end form an illusion of depth and space. The color is almost haptically experienced that adds to Jana's pictures yet another dimension.


A very similar attitude is present in Jana's sculpturing. It is not extensive as far as amount is concerned but it is noted for an outstanding expressive power. Topics of these smallish statues are intimately known from Jana's pictures. They serve again to verification of certain principles and potential, to investigation of lawfulness of the medium. In this form we might better become aware of the fragility of these beings. They are noted simultaneously for their specific courage and gentleness. There appears a particular decisiveness which is noted in the author's paintings and which discloses intensive life energy.


The process caught in Jana's pictures might be disclosed as interiorization of the exterior. The paintress in her works of art is headed from pinning the symbolic rooted in the concrete to the non-concrete, abstract and spiritual. Spiritual is not understood in the religious sense of the word but rather in the mythological sense, in the sense of individual experiencing. Painting thus not only denotes but also co-creates and deepens this process.


Peter Kršák