San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
A medley of characters gone awry, Jakub Kalousek's mixed media drawings are a flux of bold, bizarre and disarmingly comical images. In a maze of simultaneous happenings, each panel portrays a discordant microcosm in bright, punchy colors, while accumulated markings, textures and converging lines blare like the noisy deluge of a busy intersection.
Noting personal impressions and musings on 100% acid free museum board, Kalousek literally draws his own conclusions. He creates a complex personal lexicon while oscillating between thought and action, image and text, honesty and doubt, and his drawings achieve depth perspective through layers upon layers of orthographic accumulations. Seeking to cover the entire surface and working all around the paper, the artist erases some lines like the avoidance of a fleeting thought, while allowing others to emerge strongly contoured in paint, as if reinforcing new ideas, unforgettable expressions and memories.
Although the work abounds with figurative imagery, direct dependence on language is the most fascinating aspect of Kalousek's art. His works are full of masculine energy, in a sexual, brash and obnoxious way, but also reveal an astute personality with an amazing knack for linguistic puns. A San Franciscan of Czech origins, his dual nature is apparent through the barrage of inconsequential notes, rowdy expressions and enigmatic words in his native language. With titles such as: Cavort/Tart and Raking Chortle Kalousek's vivid collages are vortexes of onomatopoeic energy, beguiling scenarios of sheer, compelling force.
Surveying the drawings, the viewer's reaction seems to parallel the artist's creative process, as the attention waivers between excitement and discovery. The spectator is forced to face the massive conundrum hesitating, considering and questioning as it deciphers through the maze of sneering characters, unable to escape from the intricate web. New reference points abound or are avoided amongst the contorted lines, pigment and found objects, and like signs in a bustling metropolis, words constantly signal thorough, to incite, indicate or embarrass.
All images accompanying this article appear courtesy of Jakub Kalousek.
Jakub Kalousek's works on paper are on view from April 3-26 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Rental Gallery, in a group show with Georgia Hayes and Barbara Kronlins.