ATTILA RICHARD LUKACS
UNTITLED #4; UNTITLED #5
mixed media on canvas
signed with initials and dated 2011 on the reverse; titled in ink on the stretcher
16 ins x 16 ins; 40.6 cms x 40.6 cms
Attila Richard Lukacs (b. 1962) is a legendary living artist. With a storied biography and reputation rivaling some of his most fantastical depictions, the Vancouver-based artist of international renown is, in recent years, moving his needle to more grounding and bucolic depictions.
A graduate of Vancouver’s Emily Carr College of Art + Design in 1985, Lukacs enjoyed early success as a member of the Young Romantics and then moved quickly to West Berlin, where he would build his name over the course of ten years. His most famous work consisted of mural-scaled figurative paintings depicting homoerotic abjection, indolent heroics, and contemporary allegory. The bruised seething of Lukacs’s canvases gained in credibility in the context of Germany, over Alberta, of course. The wall had come down, and Lukacs’s dark narratives featured eroticized Nazi skinheads. They implied a lust less for a fight than a fate worth fighting for.
Lukacs’s “fight” would take him to New York, the depths of drug abuse, and near career annihilation. He’d eventually come up for air in Hawaii, where he would turn, in the min-aughts, to grey-scale abstracts, ink drawings, and later, semi-figurative gardens hewn in verdant greens and yellows. He was straining at Eden.
Untitled #4 and #5 (2011) suggest the calm of this period, a fluidity to Lukacs’s hand, the freedom of his gesture. Consistently pulling from Eastern spirituality and symbolism through his winding practice, the abstract suggestions of bamboo, veins, or waterways, is evident in these loose drawings. We can infer a freeing-up and a settling-down of this riven life, a kind of essentialized, even tantric reforming.
Atilla Richard Lukacs (b. 1962, Edmonton) has been collected by the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Vancouver Art Gallery, among other institutions. He is a graduate of Emily Carr College of Art + Design, and has exhibited internationally. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1997.
Private Collection, Toronto