Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon of perceiving significant shapes in vague stimulus: faces in clouds, human figures in streams, or entire landscapes in single pieces of rock. Such tricks of the mind reflect a deep need for emotional connection with the environment. Sava Manojlovic’s work speaks to such desires. His paintings are evocative studies in placedness. Human figures are inextricably intertwined with the landscape, offering a picture of ecological unity. In Manojlovic’s work, forms and figures issue from rock-scapes or melt into abstract rivers. Each entity’s existence is predicated on the presence of the other, drawing our attention to states of balance and symbiosis in the natural world.
Manojlovic’s practice is not fixed, but rather a trajectory of knowing that is continually developing and changing. His paintings and drawings chart a personal journey that began in Dalmatia with a childhood obsession with rocks and land formations. For Manojlovic, rocks are metaphors for strength and creation. Every rock collected, considered and repositioned as a child became a visual lesson in the language of form. Manojlovic has become adept at translating natural stimulus into painted abstractions. In his landscapes, the formal qualities of line and shape are paramount, while figuration appears secondary- perhaps an inevitable byproduct. Similarly, colour is not used as a referent, but rather as an emotional tool. The drama of the artist’s iridescent tones takes us on a journey into an other-worldly dream-scape or emotional terrain.
Art is often used as a way of processing past experience in the present moment, and Manojlovic’s paintings and drawings are laced with nostalgia. Here, personal histories are employed in pursuit of general truths. Manojlovic’s figures are enigmatically featureless and therefore perpetually anonymous. Yet such a state of blankness actually offers immense freedom in that it can be substituted by the viewer, ad infinitum. Manojlovic’s images are consequently filled with potential; universal meditations on the human condition.