LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 12, No.3 - Fall 1966
Editor of this issue: Thomas Remeikis
Copyright © 1966 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
A JOURNEY INTO THE SUBCONSCIOUS
Paintings of Leonas Urbonas
Among the younger Lithuanian painters Leonas Urbonas may be distinguished by his unique use of subconscious material. He has been called by art critics "an abstract expressionist" and "abstract surrealist". It seems he has an innate and rare feeling for space and mass. Color is only a means, not an end. The intensity and mood of color vary according to what and how muck the artist had to and wanted to express. There is no dominant color scheme. Perhaps consciously, color in Urbonas' paintings is not emphasized at the expense of the unique quality of the painting. The Australian art critic Donald Brook has written about Urbona's work: "Leonas Urbonas... is immensely and easily creative in the tradition of the inspired doodle. His "writing" is not fully automatic, though: there is conscious aesthetic control at the framing stage, if not earlier. His powerfull watercolors invent and exploit pictorical accidents with a talented facility. Interpretations are endless; and one might prefer to regard the pictures as Rorschach blots to test and tease the viewer rather than as revelations of the artist s psyche".
Leonas Urbonas was born in Lihuania in 1925. After World War II he ended up as a refugee in Germany, where, at the Stuttgart Academy of Arts, he began art studies. In 19i8 he moved to Australia and has resided there since. It was in his adopted country — Australia — that Urbonas was first recognized by art critics. In 1960 he was accepted into the Contemporary Arts Society of Australia. In 1961, he held his first one man show at the Macquarie Gallery in Sydney. His abstract surrealist oils drew wide acclaim from art critics and his reputation as one of the leading artists in Australia was firmly established. In the same year a second one man exhibit enhanced his stature. His continuing success as one of the leading artist in Australia was recently confirmed when his painting "Melita" won "The Fabric Fashion Award"—Australia's highest recognition. In 1966 Leonas Urbonas is exhibiting in the major cities of America.
FROM WITHIN 1965