My friend Attila Keszei is back. Attila, an engineer who offered heroic leadership in the quest for sustainability and reducing the university’s carbon footprint retired from the University of Toronto a few years ago. But his creativity continues unabated, retirement allowing him to focus his energies completely on his art. His new show at the U of T Faculty Club displays recent works.
Is age finally mellowing Attila’s work? You be the judge.
He has several distinct styles.
1-some of his works are simple representations of nature or humanity often telling stories, possibly even religious in nature.
2-some of his works are political in nature. Attila speaks of this as “concerned art”, which is a very gentle name for it. As a Hungarian expat in Canada this manifested itself in several ways. But I didn’t see anything of that sort in this show.
3-some of his works are sensual or even sexual in nature. Sometimes that means explicit images, sometimes it may be more ambiguous. I’d say that several of these works at the very least hint at sensuality, while a few are so blatant that they will make some people blush, at least once it’s pointed out to them what is depicted in the art.
Georgia O’Keeffe is Attila’s favorite artist, and a natural departure point for his own explorations.
4- From time to time, the engineer peers out of his art. “The 41st Day” might be a whimsical response to something in the book of Genesis, but it is essentially an attempt to capture the magic of terrestrial physics. We see sunlight meeting water but in person one feels the stunning drama of this medium of super-hot ceramic melting and being shaped into something touchable and cool, the sun tamed as though by a sustainability engineer’s cleverness.
As with so many works of art, the only way to really appreciate the work is in person. In this show Attila displays works in raku fired ceramic and hammered copper. The effect transcends the means, a cool sensual finish that seems effortless. But masterful control is required to get the illusion of such tranquility.
“Canadian Willpower” is a kind of battle between the Canadian Shield and a maple, one that we see all too often up north.
While you can also see Attila’s work on his website, that is a mere shadow of what you get in person. And as far as i can tell this has been a productive year. His so-called retirement seems to agree with Attila.