From the article featured at Neu America Art Magazine
Issue: July 2009
BACK TO OUR ROOTS
The work of Mirjana Novak Cesar.
To talk about Mirjana’s creations is to talk about nature itself. The richness of the colors, the mix of textures and shapes, and the natural elements used in her work are a remembrance of her homeland in Croatia and a measure of influence the American landscape has had on her. Although filled with familiar elements such as flowers and ferns, her composition and forms are her own interpretation of her surroundings.
Mirjana Novak Cesar was born and raised in Zagreb, Croatia in 1964. From a very young age her artisan grandparents and mother influenced her with their creative spirits. They taught her sewing, needlework, crotchet, knitting, and everything else involving fiber. She started designing her own clothes and one-of-a-kind wearable art accessories when she was in elementary school. Mirjana studied furniture design at University of Zagreb and this experience allowed her to explore new ways of exploring her creative mind.
After the end of the Croatian War in 1992, Mirjana and her husband moved to the United States where they bore three children. Mirjana continued designing and experimenting with fiber arts and devoted most of her thirties to raising her children. After thoughtful experimentation, she found her way to her own original style artwork. “My artwork is a fusion between acrylic painting and fiber collage with emphasis on the incorporation of natural and recycled materials. It's constantly evolving with extensive use of old artisan techniques, weaving, and embroidery, that all combined result in original and unique works.”
She works with burlap rather than canvas because of its’ organic roughness and receptivity to specific techniques she is currently using. Acrylic paints, fabric cutouts, various yarns, threads, and wood beads allows her to achieve a dimensional, primitive, and yet contemporary look.
Mirjana’s work is full of sensitivity and her inspiration comes from her interaction with the environment. Her paintings embrace a multitude of experiences, references, interactions, and emotional truths that almost transcend the dimension of the canvas. Her artwork is an invitation to return to our roots and to reconnect with Mother Nature. “We forget to look at the simple, small things, like fern buds unfurling, unfolding just like life itself. We should walk the fields of flowers instead of concrete sidewalks.”
Today, as her work has entered a new evolutionary state, Mirjana’s astonishing technical acumen and astuteness have cemented her reputation as an original artist. Her work transcends time and genre and makes the viewer, including myself, long for more of her creation. Although many artists have tackled the same subjects, Mirjana’s originality lies in the contrast between her rough materials and the delicacy of her touch. She captures nature in an unprecedented manner and translates it into the pictorial space with a perfect balance between sensitivity, finesse, and original technique.