Sadko Hadzihasanovic

Arcadia Redux

new paintings
February 16 - March 24, 2018
Opening Reception Friday February 23, 7-10pm


Sunday Afternoon

Sunday Afternoon, 2018
gesso, oil and pencil on wood panel
9 x 12 inches

Arcadia Redux

Figures and personalities are often the subject of Sadko Hadzihasanovic’s work. Using humour and political insight into both North American culture and that of his homeland, the former Yugoslavia, he never fails to deliver anything less than beautifully rendered imagery, both compassionate and shrewd.

In his new work, the images reveal a kind of Arcadian play. An ever-present space in visual art with an inherent theatricality, Arcadia becomes oddly suspicious in these paintings. This is not immediately apparent; people lounge in bathing suits, mothers beckon children into the water, others are lost in play in the misty, light-saturated air. The landscape is beautiful yet generic, the figures suspended out of time. Slowly, however, tensions appear. The rendering can seem insubstantial when the washes of paint reveal the haphazard application of the white ground, creating a startling, almost violent counter-movement to the gentle depictions. In these deceptively bucolic images, fractures are close to the surface. The subjects may gaze back at the viewer, but the overwhelming feeling is of covert surveillance.

Does the historical knowledge of recent war and unrest amplify this drama? Or are the tensions created by our surreptitious observation? Unsuspecting figures caught in movement are singular abstractions in their painterly focus. Against watery backdrops, the elaborate treatment of the human back is at times arresting, a play of light and shadow that invites a reverie more suited to the contemplation of non-human forms.

These unrevealed figures become suspect. Caught unknowing, they could be guardians or interrogators. The stillness of the pose exaggerated by the painterly treatment creates a figure on the verge of action, its outcome eternally suspended. Then, when the view switches back to some distant action, the drama recedes and sounds of play seem almost audible in these remarkably resonant images.

- Gary Evans, February 2018



Sadko Hadzihasanovic studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, Bosnia, earned his MFA at the University of Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1984) and arrived in Canada in 1993. Since his arrival from Bosnia, Sadko has participated in over seventy exhibitions in public galleries and artist-run centres across Canada and has produced numerous portrait commissions. He is the recipient of visual arts grants from the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts and has instructed at Georgian College, the University of Guelph, the Koffler Centre and the Avenue Road Arts School. Sadko has been exhibiting at Paul Petro Contemporary Art for twenty years. Sadko explores identity and the politics of migration, with its attendant cultural and social implications, in an extensive portraiture-based body of work incorporating mixed media and collage, and an array of references to popular culture.