Jaroslav Róna's painting journey

Jaroslav Róna cannot be ignored and it can be said that he is also a permanent phenomenon on the Czech fine arts scene. His works and crystal ideas generally raise excited reactions and discussions. Despite prognoses of some clamant theoreticians of recent post-modern chases, he is firmly and persuasively straddled between traditional painting and properly modelled sculpture. He is still moderately obstinate and apparently "has appetite" – travelling across the area where he can feel good craftwork, individual style, authentic passion and visions, that address us with their inpandering urgency. For several years the visitors of either individual or group exhibitions have had the opportunity to meet large Róna's work with characteristically seen idea of the world. That he sees as a particularly solid synthesis of private and non-conscious experience and transcendent super personal overlaps.

In earlier stages of his somewhat lonely journey, Jaroslav Róna dealt mainly with significant mythology of remote initiations, dark Dionysian rites and extreme life collisions to the death. Not long ago, this revealed original underflow, unexpectedly curling our imagination and irritated hidden unconsciousness, was symbolised by various beasts of prey, rotten carrions or fragments of skeletal remains loosely spread in the land of steep mountains and abysmal craters. A rough impasto of divided character, dark scale of earthy tones and consistent forms only strengthened these warning while time somehow attractive excited scenes. Róna's mythic timelessness still lasts, only the general iconography, expression and means are changing with the passing time. Prehistoric scenes, persistent instinct as well as unbound animal energy, originated once in a far wasteland by the Great Mother, is slowly transforming to a relative modulation and sorrowful conciliation, to inhabited Earth. Sarcasm and irony are partially veiled by a curtain of romantic nostalgia, compassion and maybe a mystic ecstasy referring us to all embracing cosmic belonging, as well.

In the pictures of Róna's following period we meet the basic dateless themes again – but this time mainly with human figures as a more legible carrier of the given message, which, in the first scheme, is less dramatic, developed under the influence of general modulation and evident discipline – however it does not restrict big gestures and inserted emotions. In this respect, Róna is not changing much – he is only switching the means in his fight with indifference, ordinariness and ignorance. He does not instantly accentuate an acute conflict or frozen view into staggering depth of human heart anymore. In his work now there is more attention, empathy, contemplation and more balanced (self)reflexion. He is changing his point of view – at present he is directing his attention to "tasks" known from the history of fine arts (for example those presented by the classics of modernism like Cézanne, Picasso or Matisse). Being an essential narrator of stories appearing is somewhat magic realism, Róna as a painter is taken naturally, however exceptionally as for the traditional biblical themes (the garden of Eden) or ancient – archetypal – permanently valid and pregnant (bathing, distant sea horizons, sky full of stars, pilgrim, etc.)

Enduring hope as a basis of our existence is coming to surface. Nevertheless, questions given on the track through the labyrinth of our complicated soul do not vanish. Jaroslav Róna is only looking for and gradually finding other possibilities of grasping and speculating of the meaning and character of our existence as such. A kind of selected new classicism is obviously fresh artistic challenge and tempting task for this painter. And it can also be another step how to, along with this dialogue with never ending themes of human kind, know ourselves as well as the world, where we were immersed by some unknown forces.

Radan Wagner