The Whirling of the World Never Stops
The Vividness of Seeds in Darkness
The Falling Petals
Sparks Moving Through the Dance
Seascapes with Giraffes
Leaf Maps in Everyday Mazes
Hidden in the Forest
Black Sun Emerging
Walking the Cell Phone Path
Ramon Kubicek – Canadian Artist
When I asked the Canadian artist Ramon Kubicek to which of his senses did he go to for inspiration, his reply was immediate and surprising to me. A lot of painters visualise or ‘feel’ but Ramon replied without hesitation that a painting for him starts with an idea. ‘A few days after I get an idea, I go to a canvas and look at it, wondering how I could put the idea on it as a painting,’ he told me.
I had already learned that Ramon’s life, since the age of 11 years, had been caught up with the feeling to be a writer or a painter. He had carried this idea through his studies at Concordia University in Montreal, his travels in North Africa and further studies in England.
He was definitely a visual artist with a great sense of colour. Yet writing interested him – storytelling, legends, Greek mythology. He studied many of these aspects of mythology, yet he was also interested in physics and science.
And much of his working life was taken up lecturing on these very subjects – creative writing, literature and the classics at Langara College and the Emily Carr University in British Columbia.
At this point of our interview, I was reminded of the skills and talents that a Javanese dalang, has to have to be successful. A puppeteer in the European sense of the word, is too small a description for what a dalang actually does.
Trained from an early age, a dalang has to know the story and legends of the gods, he conducts the many musicians who take part in these shows and while narrating the story of the puppet play, he conducts the puppets on the veiled stage. In between these activities he throws in jokes, political comments, and tales of the misfortunes to be learned from the misbehaviour of the gods or the happiness that can come out of their serendipity. The play starts at six in the evening and can end at nine the next morning. Not surprisingly, a dalang is often categorised as a communicative spiritual person and a complete artist.
Somehow, looking at Ramon’s work, I feel he combines all these qualities with the skills and artistry not dissimilar to a dalang’s wide creativity with colour, story and commentary on his canvases. His work shows all angles of life as he sees it and he sets it out in so many different ways. The visualisation of the topics he chooses to portray can be the mystery of science, evolution, legends, the rhythms, moods and minutiae of life on the earth, even painting the imagery of poets.
I found I was not far off the mark likening Kubicek’s role as an artist to that of a professional Javanese dalang, when I looked into his website: www.ramonkubicekart.com. Hidden away in his bio is a brief statement that ‘…he had studied ancient storytelling traditions of different cultures …’
So the clue to enjoying his paintings, apart from the array of colours which are bright, bright, bright – is discovering the essence of the subject whether literary or divulging the mystery of physics and science. Sometimes he abandons his bright blues to do the most subtle mute colours which carry a brightness of some of the Impressionists. There is one entitled ‘Hidden in the Forest’ which is almost like an Impressionist painting.
He has a set of paintings named ‘Black Sun’ which he says on his website ‘…even the black sun is associated with hopeful and spiritual imagery.’ He goes on to claim ‘When a viewer connects with a painting, a door opens within to something soundless, free and joyful …and that journey can lead to places of courage…’
But apart from the science and legends, there are the jokes. His Camino series celebrates the European tradition of pilgrimages which has seen a revival in recent years, the most famous being the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St James) in Spain. So, although Kubicek’s pilgrims are garbed in monastic robes, they can be seen clutching cell phones.
Ramon Kubicek now lives on the Sunshine Coast in Western Canada. He works on his art full time but also devotes time to writing. He has started a new joint project ‘TerraPoetics’ with the poet Adela Nicola MacWilliam, which is to do with seeing the self as nature within the environment of nature. This project ties up with the fact that Kubicek already takes inspiration from the mountains and the seas and takes pleasure in being in the part of the world where he could walk through forests uninhabited by human beings. He has co-authored a book on transformative art, ‘One Source – Sacred Journeys’ (Markowitz Publishing 1997).
He has had several exhibitions in Montreal and British Columbia. His work is on sale in London at Saatchi Art – saatchiart.com