Palo Macho and Laco Teren’s Magical Discs

Vlastimil Zuska

Cooperation between two creative personalities can produce results of different persuasive power. One of them yielding to the other would most probably enfeeble the individual accomplishments of both artists. On the contrary, too much mutual respect could result in a rather average outcome (for instance in rock, Johnny Winter and Jimi Hendrix’s duet attempt). In an ideal case, though, it will lead to fusion and synthesis. This is precisely what happens in the common production of two distinguished visual masters: “glass” artist Palo Macho and large-format painter Laco Teren. Four discs of approximately one meter in diameter constitute a very interesting and original collection of artifacts that delivers a riveting convergence of abstraction, figurativeness, a remarkable sense for material, composition, light and — not least, —expressiveness and impressiveness.

The circular form is not coincidental, but rather another important element adding to the overall expression of the objects. A circular painting/sculpture may just be an attempt at deviating from traditional square formats. However, in works of art that turn out really well (Bosch’s limping Pedlar for instance), it helps onlookers to focus their attention and contributes significantly, as in this case, to give the picture a more dynamic overtone. The insinuated rotation is most pronounced in the fourth piece, whose working title could be yin-yang. The use of both burgundy and purple colours along with the gold, the texture of the glass, and the metallised surface enhance the inherent dynamism of both principles. All four works use an original range of factors that allow them to fuse the means of expression of painting, sculpture, and glass sculpture using body colours (predominantly gold), translucent coloured materials and transparent parts together with harmonising colour contrasts, penetrating light and highly textured surfaces, which are smooth or grainy at the “right” places.

Another and — in a positive way — subtle means is the use of the well-known perceptual “dipolar” figure-background. This is most noticeable in the third work, in which a figure forms the background for another figure, while this background, in texture and colour, pushes itself to the fore. In this way, the resulting expressive dynamics operate not only perpendicularly to the axis of observation, but also alongside it, i.e. into its depth and to the front.

In a similar way, Focillon’s differentiation of space-environment and space-limit can be applied to the creation of this tandem of artists. Here, the circular format would correspond to the space-environment while the figure and colour contrast of the surfaces to the space-limit. Nevertheless, maximum effect is achieved precisely by the interaction, the convergence, the perceptual and semantic overlapping of one “space” into the other.

This quartet of works may seem like a series or collection of related artifacts. This is certainly true about the used format, materials, colours, composition, figuration, as well as the aforementioned perceptual and artistic principles. However, each work also stands for itself. One could even say that each one shapes its own aesthetic order as well as its own aesthetic “reading” code. Indeed, each of these four discs has the potential to “lighten up” a properly selected interior, into which it can bring unconventional aesthetic values.