Creative New Zealand mourns the passing of Milan Mrkusich

18 Jun 2018

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Milan Mrkusich
Milan Mrkusich

Creative New Zealand mourns the passing of renowned New Zealand abstract artist Milan Mrkusich.

Milan was born in Dargaville in 1925 to Dalmatian immigrant parents. In 1942, Milan he took up an apprenticeship in Writing and Pictorial Arts with Neuline Studios, while also attending night courses at Seddon Technical and taking life-drawing classes.

Milan became a partner in the architectural design firm Brenner Associates in 1949, working as a colour consultant, architectural designer and on exhibition and display designs. After Brenners closed in 1958, he obtained various architectural commissions, including many stained-glass windows and mosaics.

Using geometric forms, such as those discussed in C. G. Jung's Man and his Symbols, and influenced by developments in international abstract art, Milan's paintings in the sixties were based partly on the squared circle ormandala motif which Jung says respresents "enlightenment,

In 1972, Milan was recognised with his first retrospective exhibition at the Auckland City Art Gallery, Milan Mrkusich, Paintings 1946-1972. Following this, he continued to explore the use of monochromes, which expanded into Zone and Area works in the late 70s and into the 80s. This style continued in 1982 and 1983 with his interpretation of Constructivism, the Segmented Arcs. in 1982, Milan participated in the 48th Carnegie International in Pittsburg, Pennyslvania, USA.

There was a second retrospective show at Auckland Art Gallery in 1985; Milan Mrkusich - a decade further on 1974 - 1983. After this a new direction surfaced resulting in the Journey paintings. Six further categories of new work followed dealing primarily with different approaches to the use of colour - colour as a symbol and colour as a material fact made un-material by the viewer. In early 2010 the City Gallery, Wellington exhibited Trans-Form: The Abstract Art of Milan Mrkusich.

New Zealand Herald

The Arts Foundation