Curator: Stanka Gačnik


Slađana Matić Trstenjak is an established and renowned painter, known for her distinctive painting style, for the development of which she has dedicated years of her artistic exploration to the integration of colour, form and content. Her art is imbued with deep emotions, hidden symbolism, and a rich palette of colours and textures,often inspired by nature, symbols, and human emotions.
Nature is her studio and collage is her technique. Many artists have their own interpretations of a particular motif, their expressiveness is personal and distinctive, both in terms of the style of representation they explore in a particular time and place, and in terms of the virtuosity, maturity, and precision of their strokes in connection to their personal experience of themselves and the world. Many artists have consistently sought and discovered in nature the harmony of creation and the cosmic order that offers them innumerable artistic solutions for their mental and spiritual creations. Art, while rooted in life itself, is also its upgrade, therefore it creates and recreates new meanings, new stories, new works of art.

The exhibition at Ptuj’s Mihelič Gallery features Slađana Matić Trstenjak’s latest paintings, created between 2019 and 2024. They are a unique combination of nature, life, and memories, which have served as a constant source of inspiration for her creative process since the beginning. Rather than accurately depicting natural elements, the painter focuses primarily on lyrical, abstract interpretations of natural elements and the composition of the colour fields. Of course, her art is not merely a realistic imitation of the visible world, but an expression of the painter’s personal experiences and world views expressed through vivid colours, abstracted strokes and the interweaving of paper sheets and, more recently, textile remnants of velvet and lace.

Collage allows her to combine different materials such as paper and fabrics, linking, tearing, interweaving and layering them into new patterns, textures, colour compositions, creating unique art images that visualize her personal landscapes, memories, experiences and the pleasant feelings connected to what she sees, such as a colourful rainbow, a forest sun, a sunny rain, a rose garden, a velvet morning... Thus, in 2023, there is a shift in her painting practice towards “pure landscape”. Pieces of paper are no longer as frequent, there are no torn layers of life that in the past forced their way through the frames, rather there we encounter a purer space, more open sky, more abstract distances. It is as if the artist has breathed in new, fresh air, as if she has processed the past and the old times. We follow the breakthrough of the sun, light, bright colours, and new materials that appear in the works - lace and velvet; precious, beautiful, admired materials, which are very difficult to master, elusive and particular, challenging for assembling artistic creations. In addition to the creative artistic idea and the urge to express, the materials alone require a lot of patience, thought, and meticulous work from the artist. Her paintings penetrate our subconscious and our imaginary world, inadvertently leading us to new interactions and experiences with the previously unknown territory, guiding us to reflection, and are therefore worthy of our attention.
Slađana Matić Trstenjak is an ethereal painter who, in her works interweaves and layers the story of her life, often hidden and intimate. She interprets it into original, personally confessional, and lyrical abstract images of the current time and space, which gives her oeuvre a unique and noticeable place in Slovenian contemporary painting and offers the attentive viewer an immersive artistic experience. The artworks placed in the exhibition space of the Mihelič Gallery merge visually and symbolically into completely new relationships and a new story of Slađana Matić Trstenjak’s art, which despite all, offers us hope and faith in a more beautiful, better, and more loving world.

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