Eternal sunshine of the artistic mind

  • 2005-04-06
  • By Milda Seputyte
VILNIUS - Even those indifferent to art adore Nomeda Marcenaite. The artist's warm personality and endless smile are infectious. Likely the most popular artist twosome in Lithuania, Marcenaite and husband Marius Jonutis are widely admired for their simplicity and open hearts.

Marcenaite's involvement in charity over the last few years set an example for society as a whole, gaining attention as the country's largest aid initiatives of all time. It is no surprise, then, that Marcenaite was awarded "Woman of the Year 2004" for struggling to make the dreams of orphan children come true.

A few years ago Marcenaite started hosting an afternoon TV talk show, which has proved nearly unbeatable on the charts. But in her spare time she continues to play with clay, converting the medium into idyllic works that portray her bright perception of life.

Marcenaite and her husband recently opened a joint exhibition in the Gallery Meno Nisa to celebrate their 40th birthdays. The couple has arranged joint exhibitions for 15 years now, and their work has merged into a harmonizing unity. If it weren't for the signature on the bottom of their work, only art critics would be able to distinguish who is who.

Both artists use bright colors to reflect the joyfulness of life, a motif that carries through in all of their work. Even clay, which Marcenaite adores, and wood, which is preferred by Jonutis, work together as one. Rather than restricting Marcenaite's ceramics, her husband's irregularly-shaped frames seem to expand and add value to the centerpieces.

Having worked together now for two decades, the couple has established a unique touch that can easily be recognized in any interior or exhibition. It is difficult, however, to squeeze their work into a single genre; wood relief, ceramics, and paintings are all mixed as one. The two combine their individual motifs and characteristics so that traces of both can be found in one artist's painting and the other's ceramics.

Ceramics, painting and wood, however, have one common denominator 's whether the piece is meant to adorn a wall, enhance a room or embellish a dinner table, it radiates with brightness. Throwing realism to the wind, the artists boldly paint a loud blue sky with dabs of canary yellow. They frequently garnish their paintings at the bottom with a beautifully written thought, adding personal flavor to each creation. These simplistic fragments of poetry are somewhat similar to Jacque Prevert's work.

The artists excel at creating plots and forms so minimalist they almost seem banal. The art is light on both emotional and mental terms, aiming not to burden viewers with complicated conceptions, but rather to lead the mind toward a trouble-free world with eternal sunshine, blue skies and true love.

When speaking about the joys of life, minimalism might seem off the subject. Maybe that's why Marcenaite's and Jonutis' works seem to overflow with tender irony in their almost naive portrayal of life. The art carries us away to a world that is simple, and it's easy to live that way.