David Richard Gallery is pleased to announce “Golden Hours,” a solo exhibition of paintings by Dubrovnik-based Croatian artist Izvor Pende, curated by Lara Pan. This will be Pende’s debut exhibition with the gallery and his first solo exhibition in New York City.

This series of paintings by Pende was created from 2016 through 2018 in Dubrovnik, his seaside hometown, which has a rich history and architecture dating back to the middle ages. Pende works in the expansive tradition of the renaissance man, freewheeling in his influences. His photographic memory unconsciously (or perhaps consciously) flirts with the idea of the “golden hour”—that moment just after sunrise or before sunset that blankets the landscape in a warm glow. The palettes and scale of the compositions impart a feeling of being outdoors, watching the sun beginning to set as the hues change to warmer colors, then cooler and eventually, into darkness. His paintings are structured compositions with controlled lines and episodes of gestural brushwork echoing the view of landscape and architecture.

Pende raises the question of whether the evolution of abstract art—like the evolution of modern art more broadly—is a series of deliberate responses to the experience of life in the 20th and 21st centuries? Or, is it a matter of how we perceive our surroundings and nature within the context of modern society, reflected back in the artworks? Abstract art offers a particularly unique opportunity to think about these phenomena in that it is evoked by visual stimuli that are not object-related and, therefore, remote from the usual daily visual experiences. This in turn raises the question of how one defines a visual stimulus?

Many of these paintings exhibit an undeniable influence of both natural and built environments in their composition, familiar spaces used to define and locate a place in the world. The compositions become a framework for experiencing the forces of nature, such as the sun rising and setting, the waves of the ocean and gusts of wind. Yet, Pende’s paintings are influenced by many other subliminal stimuli ranging from sounds, memory and even imagination, as the paintings can also evoke ghostly figures whose shapes are difficult to define. Each painting, with its specific series of lines, colors and organized shapes resonates with our perceptions of musical composition, giving the paintings an internal structure akin to rhythms and beats. And then, sometimes, as the painting begins to offer a declaration of how to see and interpret the composition, Pende pulls back on his defining and clarifying the content to maintain a mysterious relationship to the space and leaving it to the viewer’s interpretation.