Dark Paintings Redux


Jim Sajovic



March 6 - April 25, 2020

Back Gallery 

The Dark Paintings were first shown at The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in 1995. They were conceived in the shadow of disturbing events in the news, beginning with media images of the oil fires in Kuwait. Burning plumes against the blackened sky kindled my interest in re-reading Dante. As I went deeper into the text of the Inferno, I was struck by compelling relationships with contemporary experience. This was my entree into darkness, becoming more inward and more intimate as the work evolved. The Dark Paintings focus on the male nude as a central iconic element, while also referencing grisly details from the Botticelli illustrations for Dante’s Inferno. There is a layering of space in which some figures aggressively emerge, while others passively recede into the rich, dark background colors. The Dark Paintings have been described as offering “fleeting glimpses of man’s destructive inclinations, while ephemeral reminders of subliminal darkness and inner withdrawal bleed through”. (Nan Rainey, Flash Art, Summer 1996.) I am keen to know how these earlier works are seen in relation to contemporary issues.


Please join us for the 21st Century reprise of this exhibition!

Artist Bio

Jim Sajovic was born in Chicago and studied painting at the University of Illinois and the University of Florida. He is a recipient of a Mid-America Arts Alliance/NEA Fellowship Award in Painting. He is Professor Emeritus at the Kansas City Art Institute.


Jim Sajovic’s works are held in public and private collections in the United States, Europe, and Asia. His artworks have been exhibited at galleries and museums, nationally and internationally, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles; Edinburgh (Scotland), Paris (France), as well as Milan, Rome, and Venice (Italy). Solo exhibitions include Jim Sajovic: Hix Fragments & (pash’n), Todd Weiner Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri: Jim Sajovic: Evolution, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri; Dreamer-Ecstasy, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, Missouri; Jim Sajovic, The Lowe Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia; Millennium Garden, The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph, Missouri; Dark Paintings and The Dante Paintings, Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, Missouri; and Motion Pictures: The Art of Jim Sajovic, The Mulvane Art Museum, Topeka, Kansas. Sajovic’s works were also featured in: The Vortex Trinity, Todd Weiner Gallery; Dream Bodies, The Kansas City Jewish Museum; WORD, Nerman Gallery of Art at JCCC; Witness: Artists’ Perspectives on War, The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center; The Perception of Appearance, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Washington; Inferno, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and New American Talent: The Tenth Exhibition, Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, Texas.


Published commentary on his work has appeared in New American Paintings, Notes for a Young Painter, numerous periodicals including Art in America and Flash Art, as well as on-line.

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"These days, Sajovic is best known for paintings that are digitally sourced and manipulated. The “Dark Paintings” are visual precursors of his customary combinations of those techniques. While segments of these paintings resemble digitized photos, every inch in every work is hand-painted, which adds to their sustaining presence." - Elisabeth Kirsch, of KC Studio

Make sure to read the entire KC Studio review writing by Elisabeth Kirsch and please check out our website to view all of Jim's work in our Back Gallery at LVAC. Available to purchase online.

Leedy-Voulkos Art Center


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