The Art of Complexity

Don’t be afraid to “take on complicated things,” is Tanja Softic’s advice for any and all aspiring artists at Andover. Anyone who has had a chance to even glance at her work knows that Softic has followed her own advice. Softic, a native of Sarajevo, Bosnia, gave a presentation last Thursday in Kemper Auditorium. Some early light problems gave way to a spectacular slide show of Softic’s work, focusing mainly on her more recent pieces. The artist kicked off the presentation with a photograph of the National Library in Sarajevo, citing the building as one of her influences. The library burned to the ground in the early 1990s, and a wealth of information and history died with it. After dealing with the surrealism of the tragedy in Sarajevo, Softic admitted to licensing herself to be “a little bit random.” Softic’s work may be abstract, but it is accessible, like the artist herself. Softic incorporated lots of symbolism into her work, including hollowed husks, isolated organs, and falling cups. The bowls that often appear in her work actually show a “desperate attempt to contain this life…a stand in for a human person,” said Softic. The artist, who holds degrees in both painting and visual arts, showed artwork with a variety of themes, from war to the fast-track life of Floridians. Softic expressed a love for Japanese paper and a passion for drawing, which she described as “the clearest language out there.” Although Softic breezed through some pieces, on others she took careful time to explain her inspirations and reasons for creating them. One piece titled “In a Morning Light” was about “sitting in your yard, having a cappuccino, while others are at war.” Another painting, “History of Love,” illustrated that science and art are, in the end, focused on the same goal. One particularly memorable piece, “State of the World,” featured both tiny land mines and an enormous image of a skateboarder, a sport that the artist described as intriguing. Another artwork, “Persephone,” narrows in on the theme that “we all have a dark side.” Softic was both interesting and captivating, glad to explain the motives and meaning behind her work. Although her work is both abstract and at times complicated, it is definitely worth taking a look at. Her show will be on display at the Gelb Gallery through December 2nd.