Charcoal on canvas


“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.” Leo Tolstoy

Through an intricate study of light and shadow, achieved by an infinite combination of charcoal lines on canvas, the elegant serenity of Akulin’s compositions belies the detailed approach that surround their creation.

As if derived from a Pointillist movement, the images are part-abstract, part-symbolic, part-figurative: forest trees, field grasses, still lakes, a moon gently hovering above, turn into sensuous and meditative landscapes. Akulin’s appetite for texture is clear in his drawings, which are all about thickness and thinness of charcoal lines, of light and shadow.

With its energetic burst of volumetric lines moving outward from a focal point, they gradually dissolve into a rolling, deep perspective. Akulin not only creates beautiful views, but complicated ones, given the intricacy of the application. The works are ambiguous in their final resolve: neither truly botanical nor strictly abstract. The intention is to capture the figurative of nature in tandem with its abstraction. Upon a closer inspection, there is not a single line – from depiction of a horizon or a tree trunk – that’s not part of a purposeful, determined and complex visual of the entire work.

For Akulin, texture created with line. is what color is for other artists: a fundamental, visceral, expressive element. His surfaces percolate, and his palette leans toward grisaille. There’s a sense that every firm line is determinedly placed and consciously envisioned. Trees and landscapes may be the predominant subject of Akulin’s oeuvre, but streams of new visions constantly flow through his new works.

In these new charcoal drawings on canvas, some as large as four by seven feet, the objects are brilliantly alert, not static. To Akulin, his paintings are always a work in progress – with constant layering, expanding and refining. At once striking and deeply personal, artwork for him is an emblem of serenity and meditation.

Akulin’s black-and-white drawings successfully seem to combine the lifelike and the abstract. They are forceful, characteristically labor-intensive, and they represent his constant engagement with nature, strictly through light and shadow.

Angelica Semmelbauer