Artist statements about recent works - Blue vs Blue and Urban Wild


Blue vs Blue

In Blue vs Blue series of paintings, I repurpose found plastic bags by compressing them into abstract naturescapes. I engage in the process of transformation of the found plastic by utilizing its physical properties, the glues, and the resin top coat in a way that creates a new language of painting. In this process, I merge references to early maps with references to satellite images, and I merge drone views of primordial wilds with bird’s eye views of man-transformed Earth. In my work, I choose to fossilize one of the most iconic signifiers of our fossil fuel era – the mass produced plastic bags. My paintings comment on the permanency of plastic, and on the fact that it is part of Nature. I present my paintings to the viewer in a design conscious form of a serene and sublime natural beauty.

Ivan Stojakovic, 2024


Urban Wild

My work explores artificial environments and the decline of wild natural habitats. The objects I create, such as paintings, dioramas, vertical gardens, tables, or composites thereof, have an independent life, guided purely by aesthetic non-environmental goals. This contradiction between design and environmental activism is a driving force in my work.
My work draws from the mapping of hurricane floods, urban sprawls, habitat loss, and contemporary landscape design. While drawing from these sources, I create fictional settings that are based on surrealist experiments. Some of these experiments include inverting water and land, representing water with an alarming hot pink, integrating sustainable vertical gardens with dwarf plants to represent forest canopies, re-purposing modular IKEA panels, and using artificial plants in conjunction with watering systems. These elements together form an open-ended visual narrative about the hybrid nature of our world, and about the perversion of the human impact on the wild natural environment. These environmental narratives are not mere illustrations of environmental messages but abstract visual syntheses, which I complete through exploration of the aesthetic ideals of balance and beauty, of the fashionable, and of the strange and sublime. In this way, my work further examines the complex and controversial nature of human desire as a driving force behind our consumerism and behind our environmental actions.


* Most of the artworks that are designed for indoors contain a mix of artificial plants and the archival preserved plants (real dead plants turned into solid objects). There is no maintenance required for these artworks. There is no color change, falling apart, and/or decay in these artworks that is any different than what happens with plain oil painting on canvas.

* * Most of the artworks that are designed for outdoors are with live plants. These artworks require maintenance that is the same as maintenance of vertical plant walls – full tech support available, details upon request. These artworks are interactive with the audience as the audience is invited to participate in shaping the planted areas (can be a community garden). As opposed to capturing a single moment, these works with live plants encompass a full span of growth and change, through metamorphosis of live plants and through human interaction.

*** The freestanding sculptural tables merge Stojakovic’s artistic vision with furniture design.



Retrospective Statement

Since 2001, my art has been an exploration of the relationship between the organic natural and the man-made worlds on shifting scales: the subatomic, the microscopic, the environmental and the global scale. The results have been mostly abstract but sometimes representational. While drawing references from natural and fabricated systems, my approach to forming images has been driven by autonomous aesthetic choices and primal expression. This approach has allowed me to introduce a tactile, colorful and emotional – ‘ecological self’ into the complex equations of environmental balance.

Ivan Stojakovic