In one of his interviews, Tengiz Marr (თენგიზ მარი) discusses his relationship with nature; to be more specific, he speaks briefly about the inexpressible side of this interrelationship, when mostly extramental but impressive connotations with nature‘s different manifestations linger in the mind, and then later in the studio they seem to turn into shapes, still lives, landscapes, etc. In addition to the aspiration that is clearly directed towards compositional and technical perfectionism, his works are united by a special attitude towards manifestations of the world in general – such as flora, landscape, or compositional equilibrium. The artist manages to abstract the real world and its material manifestations through the consideration of purely expressive assignments - relations between paper and paint, the modeled conveyance of geometric order, and the language of textures.
One of his recent works conveys the idea of a generalized and abstract landscape with a minimalist approach, a laconism where the dark gray of the terrestrial globe is separated from the gray sky by an uneven thin white line passing along the boundary between earth and sky. This seemingly negligible detail determines the compositional organization of large spatial sections.
Tengiz Marr. Untitled. 70x104. Mixed media, gouache on paper. 2020
The work, which is created in a photographic style presents an "empty landscape" and conveys a spiritual mood and offers the viewer a contemplative approach to eternity and the conditionality of time. The white line that runs from the edge of the composition almost to the center is sharply cut, and is a device seen in the second work, where the artist has continued the landscape theme but clearly shifted to the format of geometric abstraction. The contrast in this work is heightened by various "rocky-icy" fragments which form associations with an area that has been shaped by various natural forces on an uninhabited landscape.
Tengiz Marr. Composition. 69x102. Mixed media, gouache on paper. 2020
Tengiz Marr. Composition. 39x55. Gouache on paper. 2020
Other works in the same series by Tengiz Marr include clearly geometric compositions in which the artistic task is to perceive space through various vivid forms, such as sharp, and dynamic, deeply pierced polygons, or abstract, mediated versions of spherical-rectangular relations. Exploring the capabilities of gouache is particularly important to Tengiz Marr, and the outcomes are highly effective. His exhibitions always have an emotional impact on viewers. The question is always present of "how" the artist achieves textures where photographic vision and the experience of expressionist painting merge.
His works frequently depict striking collisions between hyperrealism and Dutch still life as a historical genre. These are interpretations of more significant experiences in the history of painting, such as accurately displaying the invisible structure of light and air, visually transforming it based on historical techniques of visual shape modeling, and portraying light-accented objects, such as fruit color and texture, which induce great emotional depth and at the same time a sense of ethereality.
Tengiz Marr. Still life. 30x58. Gouache on paper. 2011
Tengiz Marr. Still life. 29x39. Gouache on paper. 2007
Tengiz Marr. Still life. 35x55. Gouache on paper. 2007
Marr’s still lives, which can be considered as allusions to the great Dutch examples of this genre, place emphasis on the basic features that determine the significance of this historical painting style - the extreme simplicity of the image and the unique atmosphere – and the different versions of these two key elements as executed by various artists. It is noteworthy that in Tengiz Marr's still lives, one more element is added to this allusion - motifs of the renowned Dutch still lives appear to be participants in a surrealistic story, displaying a kind of "vision"; while the lighting effects and sense of atmosphere are extremely exaggerated, moderation is nonetheless still observed with accentuated elegance. Tengiz Marr's still lives are not merely modern interpretations of historical themes, nor is the surreal tone a total determinant of the identity of the artworks in this complex structure. Through a series of works and compositional experiments, the artist expands on his idea by making open references to one of the key motifs of neo Pop Art: where the abundance of things and the material world in general are ambiguously conveyed through the illusiveness and eroticism of the hyper realistic dimension. The accentuated fluidity of this type of still life shows the transformation of an object into a natural form – the floral motif is transformed into a gilded object of desire, at times even a fetish.
Tengiz Marr. Still life. 37x46. Gouache on paper. 2010
Tengiz Marr. Still life. 58x49. Gouache on paper. 2010
Tengiz Marr. Red cranberry tree. 61x91. Gouache on paper. 2016