Uldis Čamans

Colour becomes substance, and every painting turns into a heartfelt capture of your thought.

Uldis Čamans

First come the all-important moments: the coast of feeling and naïve trespassing, a premonition, chance, a meeting of two souls, imaginary visions, breath and equilibrium… what at first glance may seem no more than a romantic celebration of one’s life and its appraisal – an ongoing pursuit of luminosity and light – will end up tied with digging deep for greater meaning and a persistent fight against what is unjust.

In painting, Čamans draws from messy, visceral sensations, from cosmic stars colliding in abstracted blasts, as well as from the capturing of nature’s rhythms, a juxtaposing of both dynamism and calm – the many contrasts of creative life, its lived experience of moments grounded in profound and technically brilliant compositions.

In every conversation with the artist, he underscores the all-important role of light in painting, its endless scarcity and lack of time to ground one’s flight of free creative thought and share one’s precious moments with the viewers whose own experience of art can be both similar and very much distinct.

The exhibition title is The Grounded Moment. It dates way back to 1997 when Čamans was preparing for his solo show at Mans’s – a private gallery he owns and runs in Jēkabpils. Although considerable time has passed in his creative journey, which has been rich in fresh pursuits and finds, the phrase continues to be relevant and fitting for his new one-man exhibition at the Rothko Centre. To quote from painter Guna Millersone, Art Department Head at the Talsi Museum: “In the early 1990s, Uldis Čamans was the first artist in Latgale to start painting abstractions in the best sense of the term: with freedom and expressive drive, sharp-sightedness, intuitive intelligence in composition, a bold, compelling hand and a skilfully wielded brush producing patterns that seem almost graphical. He truly is a painter without fear. And then, of course, his sense of colour is so clear – for me, his work has always been a most delightful sight.”

It is no easy task to isolate the most distinctive features of his art. Čamans’s colour sense is so diverse – the tone of work will change and vary from tense expressiveness to peaceful equilibrium and calm. One thing, however, will stand out above all else – the finely balanced pastel lustre of the morning that softly gleams in nearly all his work.

Māris Čačka

Uldis Čamans has a degree from Daugavpils Pedagogical University (1984), but his professional journey has been that of a self-taught artist. He has taught art at different schools in Jēkabpils and led the town’s young artist society, which transformed into MANS’S Gallery in 1991. His ongoing creative record includes multiple group shows and several excellent solo exhibitions across domestic and international venues (in Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Lithuania and Estonia). The artist’s work is held in museums, galleries and numerous private collections in Latvia and beyond.

Exhibition period: 8 September 2023 – 19 November 2023