Amer Kobaslija arrived in Jacksonville in 1997, a male though a country.
Born in Banja Luka, a city in what was afterwards Yugoslavia and is now Bosnia and Herzegovina, he had enjoyed an halcyon childhood as a son of dual schoolteachers.
But polite fight pennyless out in Bosnia in 1992. Bosnian Muslims, such as Kobaslija’s family, came underneath conflict from Serbians in a bloody, genocidal war. In 1993 his relatives managed to get a 17 year aged Kobaslija and his younger sister out of Bosnia to a interloper stay in Germany.
When he arrived with his relatives in Jacksonville in 1997, Kobaslija didn’t pronounce a word of English. But he had a conceptual talent, an ability to paint what Jacksonville artist Jim Draper calls “visual novels.”
Draper, who teaches during a University of North Florida, is curator of dual exhibits of Kobaslija’s work that will be on vaunt for a subsequent few months in Jacksonville. “Tsunami” non-stop in a Lufrano Intercultural Gallery in UNF’s Student Union Mar 28 and continues by Jul 1. “A Sense of Place,” that has an opening accepting from 6-8 p.m. Thursday during a Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, will continue by Aug. 14 in MOCA’s UNF Gallery.
While he was fast mastering English, Kobaslija began attracting notice for his painting. In 1998 Jean Dodd, afterwards preparation executive during a Cummer Museum of Art Gardens, organised for 4 of his paintings of Bosnian landscapes to be partial of a Cummer’s “Views of Distant Lands” exhibit.
She also helped him win acknowledgment to a Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, where he warranted a bachelor’s grade in portrayal and imitation making. Then he attended Montclair State University in New Jersey and warranted a master’s degree.
At Montclair one of his professors introduced him to George Adams, who owned a George Adams Gallery in New York City. The gallery began representing a immature artist, who changed to a city.
“People began responding to my painting,” Kobaslija said. “For a initial time we had income in my pocket.”
But after dual years in New York, he found himself homesick for Jacksonville, where his relatives lived and where his mom still lives (his father is deceased). He changed behind to Jacksonville and bought a condominium in Berkman Plaza, where he still spends his open mangle and his summers.
“Finding home is a wily thing,” a 41 year aged artist said. “Of all a places in a world, this is home for me. Somehow it feels right here. we adore a beaches and a sunshine.”
After a batch marketplace crashed in 2008, a art marketplace dusty up. Needing a job, Kobaslija took one training art during Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. Two years after he changed to Gettysburg, Pa., to learn during Gettysburg College, a small, magnanimous humanities college.
Meanwhile prestigious awards were entrance his way. He got a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 2005, a Pollock-Krasner Award in 2006 and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 2013.
“Most painters would give their initial innate to win usually one of those awards,” pronounced Deborah Murphy, chair of a Department of Art and Design during UNF.
Landscapes are one of Kobaslija’s subjects of choice. He has combined a array of paintings of Florida. They uncover Florida’s healthy beauty though also a repairs that growth can cause.
“I’m not charity any solutions,” he said. “… I’m portrayal it and anticipating it will ring with others.”
Another array of landscapes emerged when he fast organised to revisit Japan after a large trembler and harmful tsunami in 2011. Joined by his father-in-law, who is Japanese, Kobaslija trafficked to a Japanese city Kesennumai.
“I was dumbfounded by a concern of what was function over there,” he said. “It was like a Hollywood production, like a video game. But nonetheless it was real. we confirm to emanate a account of a cleanup, a reconstruction, a rebirth. we came from a halcyon paradise of a Swiss alps and was unexpected in dystopia.”
But landscapes aren’t a usually thing that attracts Kobaslija’s passion. He’s finished a array of paintings of artist’s studios including his own. While in Switzerland, that he has visited frequently given 2009, he went to Ronsiniere, a city where a French artist famous as Balthus (born Balthasar Klossowski de Rola in 1908) lived from 1977 until his genocide in 2001. Fascinated by a artist, who had been really private, Kobaslija organised to accommodate a artist’s widow.
“He was a final of a giants,” he said. “She is a final witness.”
With her permission, Kobaslija began portrayal a residence and a gardens. Eventually she concluded to let him revisit Balthus’s studio, that no one had entered given a artist’s death, and paint it.
“It was a mind floating experience,” Kobaslija said. “It was magical.”
Ultimately, Kobaslija said, his idea in formulating his art is “storytelling.”
““We explain a universe not usually to others though to ourselves,” he said.
The work, he said, becomes “a portal in time and space,” “a mirror,” “a enclosure of consistent memories,” “a sum of my experiences.”
“His work is phenomenal,” Draper said. “He speaks with a brush. He is as clear with a brush as he is in language. His work is spectacular, moving, fresh, funny, interesting.”
Charlie Patton: (904) 359-4413