1. Angel with Lamb, 1990, Oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm, Latrobe Regional Gallery Collection, purchased with assistance of the Australia Council, 1993.
Frank Mesaric grew up in Gippsland, where his parents had immigrated to from Yugoslavia. A significant influence on his practice was his upbringing in a migrant household, and through this, the disparity he experienced in cultural values.
Mesaric undertook a Diploma of Visual Arts from the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education and completed postgraduate studies from the institution in 1989, specialising in painting. He is highly skilled, adopting a solid realist style, yet at the same time being surrealist in the unusual elements he includes in the imagery of his work. For example, in the painting Angel with Lamb, Mesaric depicts a young woman covering the face of a young man sitting cross-legged on the floor. This woman sitting above and behind the man appears to be perched on a stool, however one which is not visible, giving the effect that she is floating. The relationship between the figures feels unsettling, as the man seems to be submissive to the woman smothering his face, conveying expressions of psychological trauma such as alienation and anxiety, which are recurrent themes in Mesaric’s practice.
Medical equipment such as oxygen masks and drips are recurring motifs that appear in the artist’s work, and in this piece, Mesaric illustrates a drip that transfers blood from a large cut of meat into a stainless-steel bowl. Sanitary white hospital sheets are draped behind the figures and across the floor. There is a strange fetishisation of the unsettling, posed trauma in the image.
Mesaric finds the human form both an interesting and challenging subject to paint and emphasises the flesh and anatomy through light and shadow, dramatising the scene. He aims to paint speculative compositions that are suggestive of various meanings rather than a fixed idea. He has had several solo exhibitions over his career, and his works are currently held in collections at Gippsland Art Gallery and Latrobe Regional Gallery.