Exhibitions 1998 – 2008

While enthralled by the technique of aquarelle my paintings soon liberated themselves. The water has found its way over paper, whilst my task was to direct its flow and input what I see. In that way Citadels of Salt, Fables out of a Water-drop and Lyrical Impressions emerged.

Citadels of Salt… or Parched Tears and Silenced Tempests

Town Hall, Krk 4th July 1998 – 17th July 1998

The watercolors of Dagmar Franolić are true to the nature of their savor. Tonally refined in countless diversities of representations, they evoke the color of water without exception. Our submersion in the conferred is bravely playful, but simultaneously meditatively silenced. We are swimming trough a whole array of paintings dreamed into existence. The world we are talking about is built by a gentle strength of a female signature.

Working in an aegis of unassuming creative impetus, Dagmar is, for years already, finding “the letters” for her pictorial script in the vistas of the island that silently liaises with the richness of her experiential strength. Although this artist never rushed after civilizational attainments of hastily affirmations nor into the promiscuous mode of trying out the immensity of trends, she left a trail in the archive of recollections of everyone who glimpsed into the chambers of her dreams.

And that dream of hers, heartily liaises with the wake sights of the island thats opening up trough its vedute, its alleys, its rhythms of the open shutters, trough the eyes of small fish that she bestows into cities, trough the history that she writes like an ancient script on the façades of already foundered fortresses, trough the entwines of the sky and the shore,… trough everything that is utterly simple and ordinary until, in the labyrinth of our affection it upsurges to infatuation.

The watercolor is akin to the sensitive human. After a small mistake in approach the water technique resists remediation because of the very nature of its translucence. When the watercolor painting is finished, his epistle emits enormous reserve so it almost confuses us how strongly this reserve rejects the inscription of a hand that is not ready. Exactly therefore the paintress that we are talking about confirms the strength of her artistry in the ease of her results. The watercolor has accepted Dagmar Franolić, and this is almost the biggest argument of her talent. The observer of the paintings we are talking about, as an art consumer has to sense that a true delight is offered here in a refined overture. There are no chromatic excitements, no didascalies, no experimenting or surprises, the doors are closed to every harsh gesture. To the unruly natures it can seem as if a counterpoint is missing. But, trough all this peaceful greenish blues and pallid white sea foam, flows a prayer as a fragrance of the aspiration that things (none the less) stay intact.

The compositions of these paintings spread up to the very margins of the papers they are inscribed into. The setting is as if continued outside the visible borders of the paper, so as a result of such a politics of painting an epic fable constituted of emblems of elements plucked on the field of lyrical discourse is offered. So much is Dagmar Franolić femininely contradictory and adaptable in every context of exhibition. Her watercolors are supple illustrations for a literary paradigm because inside the code of a “wet” art, techniques are virtuously built by the effect of a graphical script. Nevertheless, each of this paintings positioned beside the text is holding up to its origin, it communicates, but also holds back a secret of self-sufficiency. It doesn’t submit entirely although it cooperates with the text. It holds a right to live and refuses to be mere illustration.

Similar to the distant oriental cultures of silk-prints, the universal inscription taught of as an ornament touches the borders of the recognizable motive, as much as it touches the abstract idea as the seal of the spirit. Every moment, her paintings could fly carried by the sea breeze like the Veil of Veronica, but they could simultaneously root in the austere karst terrain as a steadfast stone citadel.

Although gentle and motherly unconditional in their affinity towards the landscape from which they nascent, lets say it at last, the paintings of Dagmar Franolić are neither sweet nor luscious. On the contrary, they are salty to taste.

As tears. As sea. As neutrality.

Nataša Stipanov, 1998.


Fables out of a Water-drop

gallery Decumanus, Krk 2001

How much marvel and color lies in a water-drop, the watercolor artist knows best. Elusive and flaring, smitten by brush, in the paintings of Dagmar Franolić it composes a world woven by color and light, translucent and fresh.

The depiction of citadels lit by sunlight, or in the foggy winter mornings, carries within itself a scent of salt and of the wind from the seaside conquering and initiating us into the vastness and the landscapes of the islands. The flaring of the vedute, old churches, cisterns and stairs that lead to the depths, is attained slowly and inconspicuously, but nevertheless with an recognizable spirit of Mediterranean citadels. The watercolor is affluent, woven by undertones that reach from the lightest to the darkest and mutually complement each other. The composition is calming, at some places aided by drawing.

Unique and sufficient, the paintings carry the symbolism of an affluent tradition of the ground they are inspired by, with the glagolitic script as an authentic mark of this area, that as a strong and irreplaceable visual element embeds into the surfaces and embellishes them by reminding us of the history and traces of time.

The particularity of the vistas is manifesting in the gentle illumination of the urban ambient that lit emerges above the open sea, imposing with an almost unreal and lightly metaphysics and strength of belief that churches in solitude are permeated by, cypresses or the early Christian symbol of fishes. Fishes are a frequent motive and constitute a modest foundation for the citadels and houses, that as scales surfaced on them live their silent life. Altogether, the motives and the background, compose an inseparable whole.

The people are rare on the paintings of Dagmar Franolić, barely sensible, almost mythical, non-existent. The paintings are kind of an auto-portrait of the artist, that finds her own individual and recognizable art gesture in them identifying herself with the shapes, colors and nature that surrounds her.

Jasna Vukmirović, prof., 2001

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Bar Council, Rijeka 2004

The recognizable handwriting of Dagmar Franolić’s watercolors is evident in the simplicity of expression trough which the artist achieves the fullness and depth of the displayed. Trough the attentively chosen motives we can bespeak the silence of the sleeping citadels, the rumor of rain and orations of sea. The free perspective of houses, alleys, cypresses and stairs on her paintings is confusing to us, initiating us trough some strange play into the unforeseen world of the painting, close and warm. The ethereality and poetry of the dominating blue and green with segments of red and warm orange give that necessary pictorial dimension, semitransparent and direct, that appeals to our memories. In this series the artist achieves an elegant and fragile structure of layers by using the line. The forms are not confined by rigidity of perspective, they exist in a faceted split that plays with reality trough graceful and balanced rules of art. Huddled houses, trees, bell towers drawn trough waters strenght emerge from the surface. The windows are opening in front of our view, they are observing us from the faces of houses, solemn and mute.

The coloring of the chosen pallet momentarily takes on a defined form, the next moment promptly transforming into a mysterious two-dimensionality opening to us the doors to a different nature. The meditative rhythm emerges out of the harmony of the spiritual and sensuous conception of form. The motives, symbols of fishes are frequent, but hidden and unobtrusive.

That envisioned world of Dagmar Franolić is unreal, but woven from elements of reality that within themselves maintain refections of landscapes, collisions of sky and sea, as well as the infinite treasure that is found in between them.

Jasna Vukmirović, 2004

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Lyrical Impressions

2nd August – 29th August 2008, gallery Njivice, Njivice

The picturesque world of Dagmar Franolić is a world of lyrical impressions – the ones of dreamy landscapes, wondrous vedute and miraculous trees, that are drawn into her characteristic water-color. A color that is translucent and fluid, full of gentle and fine nuances. That is lightened up and watered down to chiming and clear consonance, but that is also unusually saturated – to a soft foggy sfumato. Beside the color, Dagmar’s specific line also exists here, accompanying the color, but not merging with her. It follows the color, but also slips away and withdraws from her. But that same color, nevertheless, respects her and together with her builds an imaginary visual world of characteristic expression. And although everything starts up from reality here, it soon – trough imagination – rises up to fantasy, where reality and illusion, experience and remembrance, perception and illusion mix. It rises to border spaces between dream and wake, where the story semantically densifies, and the space broadens to some undefined and intangible categories, following other legitimacies.

Although the starting point in the painting of Dagmar Franolić is mimesis, it often experiences a metamorphosis during visual elaboration, becoming just a flow of reality (although, lyrically); that baths and dissolves in color and light. But it also becomes a starting point for the transformation of perception. Because the author, of the first part fills up our senses emitting to us images – tales about ambients of her own habitat and region, while of the other – reaches into the structure of her paintings, setting up new viewpoints (as from above) and building spatial relationships inside a firm linear raster.

When she speaks however, then she describes an atmosphere, so in these paintings there is no movement and dynamics, but some melancholic confinement. Hence comes that impression of timelessness, metaphysical ambiance and dreamlike meditativeness that threads trough Dagmar’s “magical landscapes” – lyrical, but emptied and desolate. Here it’s necessary to say that one part of these landscapes and vedute still visibly keep to figuration and in them the romantically-intimistic note is more pronounced. But it is apparent that either part of them is beginning to formally-semantically condense and synthesize, turning a sign into a symbol, while simultaneously stepping into a realm that borders with abstraction. In the first instance the authoress has activated us with her fables, in the other by her thoughtful approach.

When she speaks to us (and she speaks by color and line), we can almost sense the swelter of the drowsy, summer afternoon; the mystery of the amazing blue night; the mist that in the twilight or in the dreamy morning passes above the gardens. Or the warm droplets of the sudden, wholesome rain on the sea. But when she mentally activates us trough the symbolic of motives, the she “opens a window” into a new world, ambiguous and stratified, in which we suddenly become conscious how some invisible connecting threads spread deeply trough time and distantly trough space.

Inside that whole the authoress focuses on one of its parts – a special detail: the tree, that will from now on, it seems, seize special attention. Because the tree, symbolically, always was some special link between the earth and the expanse of the stars; some primordial symbol of life and a living symbol of the whole universe that is in unceasing renewal. The symbol of meditation and illumination, at last. Therefore the tree is a motive that is, in its morphological and symbolical manner, the humans everlasting and infinite well of inspiration, from the archaic times up to today, so it doesn’t surprise us that Dagmar Franolić has turned towards it.

Still, no matter whether she is counting a tale, or is turning to the symbol, her main means of expression, that define her as a painter are the watercolors. This author knows how to sophisticaly dose its dilution, its saturation and the amount of light that the color emanates. And therefore, thanks to exactly all this color, regardless of the motive, the painting of Dagmar Franolić is today professionally profiled, known and recognized.

Višnja Slavica Gabout, 2008


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