Emerging Artists | Tibor Nagy

Portraits of his homeland

Tibor Nagy, Connection, oil, 16 x 20.

Tibor Nagy, Connection, oil, 16 x 20.

This story was featured in the February 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art February 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Ever since he began painting landscapes, Tibor Nagy has had no trouble finding inspiration within his native Slovakia. From its bucolic villages and folk architecture to its ancient cities and modern edifices, the country’s regional diversity alone presents a lifetime’s worth of scenic variation. “When I add four seasons to this fact, I end up with a virtually constant transformation of an already rich source of inspiration,” he says.

In his latest body of work—on view this month in a group show at Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ—Nagy continues to explore his homeland across the seasons. Consistently inspired by muted, tonalist colors, the artist uses a limited palette to depict both urban and rural locales within vaporous, partially abstracted backdrops. And while he portrays a variety of Slovak structures in his work, Nagy’s subdued palette is particularly suited for one of his favorite subjects: the medieval Gothic cathedrals scattered throughout the countryside of central Slovakia.

Born in Rimavská Sobota, a small town near the Slovakian-Hungarian border, Nagy started painting when he was a child, and though he has always felt a deep connection to nature, he didn’t venture out on his first plein-air excursion until he was in his early 40s—around the same time that he began using oil paints. For several years after that, the self-taught artist mostly painted outdoors to learn all he could about light and color. These days Nagy, now 54, primarily paints in his studio, where he works swiftly using the alla prima method to capture his initial feelings about a scene. In fact, his emotional response to a landscape “plays a vital role” in his creative process, and thus, he is less interested in depicting “all the small details” of a scene. “I don’t find it important or desirable to capture subject matter realistically,” he explains. “What I find important are results that conform to my own imagination.”

The artist prefers not to attach any labels to his style, but instead views it as an accumulation of the varied artistic approaches he has studied over the years. “I’ve always infused what I’ve learned along the road into my own style,” he says. “Even my own approach to painting evolves all the time.” And for Nagy, that means he’s heading in the right direction. —Kim Agricola

representation
InSight Gallery, Fredericksburg, TX; LePrince Fine Art, Charleston, SC; Legacy Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ.

This story was featured in the February 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art February 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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