Jozef Bajus is one of five artists who spoke at the Dalhousie Art Gallery on Jan. 18. Some of his work is being featured in an exhibition called “A Very Long Engagement.” The theme of the exhibit is time, depicted symbolically and literally through art.
Bajus hails from Slovakia. He has been working in textiles for several years, but he has also been working with the assemblage process of spinning materials and digital imagery. His work has been showcased in exhibitions and galleries throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
Some of his pieces in the gallery include Hurricane Ike (2008) and Nuclear Cleanup of Tonawanda (2006). They consist of layers of textiles, colour and tactile objects. The Hurricane Ike piece is made of black structures curved in the shape of waves, presenting a sense of a hurricane’s power. The Nuclear Cans are a collection of cans painted yellow to represent the nuclear waste cleanup in Tonawanda, N.Y.
“Layers are a big part of my work,” says Bajus. “On the conceptual level, I am trying to tell something about the material. I take a look at my work and know what I want—to capture the essence of an idea.”
Bajus works as an associate professor at the School of Arts and Humanities in Buffalo,
N.Y. He is the fiber design coordinator.
“I have respect for any technique or style that can be used to educate a student,” he says. “Experimenting is different in every form and in every method.”
“When teaching, I ask my students to research techniques if they can, but they don’t do so,” he says. “Art is not something you can just learn instantly: it requires skill, practice and dedication.”
In the studio, Bajus works on his projects while listening to music. He keeps track of time by noting how often he listens to particular songs. At night, he studies his work before going home, because he knows what needs to be continued the next day.
“Exploration has encouraged me to continue experimenting,” he says. “There is a sense of hunger that drives me to keep making art.”
Needless to say, Bajus does not plan to stop making art anytime soon.
“I want to express my ideas,” he said. “I’m still working because I am not finished.”
The exhibit is being held at the Dalhousie Art Gallery. It runs until March 3.