Stephen Baturas impressive
large-scale paintings bring to life the dramatic spectacle
and complex images from early 20th century photographic archives. Part encore presentation
seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and part newly-exhibited works, Baturas
choice of imagery and scale is made compelling by the artists elaborate and sophisticated
brushwork. Upon investigation, the historical aspect of each primarily monochromatic painting can
be interpreted, as the artists states, as tangential to its meaning. Batura offers
further that his
interest in his photographic resource materials is essentially not due to its historical time-frame,
but rather that the use of its period becomes a means of expression to reflect the continuity of
Seen through the current lens of the instant information era of the 21st century and transformed
through each hard-won mark of the artists brush, the quiet, yet monumental grandeur of each
painting at first glance seems anachronistic; their focus and vantage points appear distant in time.
The chaos often surrounding humanity unites both past and present through scenes highlighting
the cost of progress calamity ignited by human folly or the periodic throw of Natures fury.
both, Batura invites and reflects the rhythm of each cycle. For the painting entitled spring
morning, the wide landscape and soft green color belies the aftermath of a horrific train
derailment. The twisted rail cars are zig-zagged off the track, the wrecked cargo spilled while
curious on-lookers view the resulting spectacle. Within the artists multi-layered painting process,
Batura respects the record of each discovered photographic image. Having mined new depths of
meaning with each committed brushstroke and imposing scale, Baturas paintings call to attention
what is both undaunted and fragile within human condition.