Tale's Achievement

Petar Tale - Valediction , oil on canvas
Valediction 2003, oil on canvas 145 x 512 cm

During the course of his working life Tale has produced a vast wealth of painting and drawing. For almost forty years Tale has concentrated independently, quietly and unswervingly on the realisation of the images and ideas, which have filled his mind in continuous cascade. The sheer impetus of his visions has propelled him to the creation of an astounding number of works – there are over 14 000 pieces to his name, both drawings and paintings, in oil and watercolour. After even the briefest survey of the works contained here, it is apparent that Tale has created a unique and significant contribution to the art of our times.

Three central themes

Tale has explored and developed the three central obsessions of his life’s work: his passion for landscape as a metaphor and emblem of beauty; drawings and paintings centred on the human figure, often focused on the moral and social aspects of conflict; and emerging from characteristics present in his work from the onset of his career, the later abstract drawings and paintings. The predominant feature of Tale’s work is the realisation of an intensity and spirituality, a transcendence. With Tale’s lyrical handling, this transcendence assumes the eloquence of poetry.

Breadth of vision

In his contemporary depictions of war and conflict Tale has demonstrated that, in an inimitable style, he can combine a deep humanitarianism with a detachment which avoids heroic interpretation. Landscape painting is such an art that only an exceptionally imaginative individual may form any truly original statements and Tale is plainly such an artist. Again, in his abstract work, Tale has provided an avalanche of new ideas, together with investigative procedures, which surely have portent for the future of painting.

A greater 'reality'

To state that Tale’s life’s work ranks with that of the most accomplished masters is to say enough. However there is more to understand about his work than this. First, there is a greater ‘reality’ – underlying every work is a deep subconscious harmony with the energy, dynamics, patterns and rhythms of our universe. His work – the landscapes, the figurative and the abstracts – reflects nature and is a product of nature. Yet his art is never ‘reality’ in the factual sense of that term. It goes beyond the surface and almost becomes part of nature itself, because it is literally and metaphysically founded in nature’s own laws and instinctively complies with them. There is never a pre-determined quality; rather the work springs from the depth of his being and is nourished by sources which extend beyond his immediate pre-occupation. For all the wealth of scientific advances and technological miracles so much of the cosmos remains silent mystery. It is this silence and wonder, both in his landscapes and his abstract work, which Tale so eloquently evokes.

Unfaltering belief in painting

Acknowledging this does not imply that Tale has spent his working life in a creative vacuum; on the contrary he has always maintained an awareness of current developments in art. His faith in the innate potency of the inscribed gesture of the human hand and the belief that art and aesthetic production is ultimately geared to a completely visual expression has not been daunted. With supreme economy and an unsurpassable directness Tale reveals so much with the use of one eloquent brush stroke. He has always used his painting to ‘think’, never judging for a moment that the one activity precludes the other. Within a single work Tale can encapsulate a contemporary and challenging representation while simultaneously referencing thousands of years of art historical tradition. His work is the celebration of the image in the pictorial framework within which he has worked and which, as he has so palpably confirmed, remains a fertile source of inspiration for innovation and original expression. Indeed his abstract work demonstrates that the 20th Century achievements in art have unearthed vast, barely explored opportunities. With attentive study Tale’s work ultimately reveals itself in its full depth and richness.

Brilliant individualism

Tale cannot, as many great modernists, together with some contemporary artists, be placed in any theoretical pigeonhole. However, he demonstrates that brilliant individualism, still working within quintessentially European tradition, can and does succeed in producing an alternative path for the future of 21st Century art. Let those with eyes, hearts and minds look – they will surely be mesmerised and delighted.