Art or War | Viktor Mitic

Art or War, by Viktor MiticISBN-13: 978-1-926639-15-4
ISBN-10: 1-926639-15-4
Price: $32.95
Pub Date: Fall 2010

Artist Viktor Mitic is making headlines with his controversial gunshot paintings, which feature portraits of celebrities, iconic religious figures, and famous works or art outlined in bullet holes. Shocked by recent incidences of defacement of sacred works of art by fanatics—for example, the destruction of the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban—Mitic’s goal was to use weapons in his art to create rather than to destroy. Guns are naturally perceived with uneasiness, and the image of an artist shooting a painting of an iconic figure carries an intense psychological impact; however, the juxtaposition of beauty constructed out of violence in Mitic’s paintings generates an unexpected feeling of tranquility. In his own words, “Although the process is very loud, there is a sense of peace after the smoke is gone.”

Eleven of the paintings presented in Art or War are accompanied by prose or poetry by a distinguished Canadian author: Erika Ritter, George Elliott Clarke, George Fetherling, Katherine Govier, Catherine Bush, Susan Musgrave, Gary Michael Dault, Barry Dempster, Jim Nason, and Goran Simic. These writers’ creative responses provide an illuminating counterpoint to Mitic’s inspiring and challenging work.

Included as an additional bonus is a film by Laurie Kwasnik of the artist at work, with commentary by Terry Graff, Curator, Beaverbrook Art Gallery; Ryan Grover; Curator, Biggs Museum of American Art; Gary Michael Dault, critic, writer; Charles Pachter, artist; Pamela Edmonds, Curator, Peterborough Art Gallery; Cole Swanson, Curator Living Arts Mississauga; and Ewan Whyte, poet, writer.

Click to read an excerpt from Art or War.

Praise for the paintings of Viktor Mitic:

“Sometimes he’s right on and sometimes he’s not . . . Some of it is smartass, some of it is mischievous, but that’s art too.”
—Charles Pachter, Globe and Mail, USA Today

“Provocative art with religious connotations.”
—Peter Goddard, Toronto Star

“Serious painting, but it’s fun . . . there is levity to it.”
—Terry Graff, Telegraph Journal

[He’s] taken . . . an iconic religious image and used a gun on it . . . What next?
—Mark Coles, BBC

Posted in A, Art, Catalogue, Fall 2010 | Tagged , , , |

Dealers | Viktor Mitic

Dealers-Victor MiticISBN-10: 1926639146
ISBN-13: 9781926639147
Price: $32.95
Pub Date: Fall 2009


In this remarkable portrait-survey of thirty-six of Toronto’s most distinctive and influential art dealers, artist Viktor Mitic has captured and illuminated the unique individual personalities of his subjects.

Depicting by turns their passion, insouciance, vivacity, shrewdness, eccentricity, geniality, and more, these portraits successfully reflect the rainbow of human emotion and expression.

As Gary Michael Dault says in his insightful introductory essay, “there isn’t a portrait here that doesn’t provide not only a fine likeness of its subject, but also a telling, charming, incisive route into the sitter’s essential nature.”

Viktor Mitic was born in Belgrade, Serbia. A University of Toronto graduate artist, classically trained in art schools in Europe, Mitic has produced a major body of work that spans a career of over two decades. For a number of years, he was painting non-representational paintings using natural elements such as rain and hail to render surfaces of the paintings in oils on canvas. Mitic has successfully integrated various materials into his recent body of work: charcoal, graphite, oil, acrylic, watercolour, pen and ink, and japanese traditional natural pigment. He has recently developed a distinctive, some would say provocative, method; he paints portraits of international iconic images and later shoots the outline of the figures using various weapons and live ammunition. He has had many successful solo and group shows of his paintings in Europe, the United States, Canada, and, most recently, Japan. Viktor Mitic lives in Toronto.

Gary Michael Dault is a writer, painter, and art critic in Toronto. He is the author—or co-author—of a number of books, including Cells of Ourselves with artist Tony Urquhart (Porcupine’s Quill, 1989), Esko Mannikko: Mexas (Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Sweden, 1998), Photographs by Tom Sandberg (Astrup-Fearnley Museum, Oslo, 2000), The Prix de Rome in Architecture: A Retrospective (Coach House Books, 2006), and Captive: The Zoo Photographs of Volker Seding (Les 400 Coups, Montreal, 2007). He has published a number of books of poetry, including The Milk of Birds (Mansfield Press, 2006) and Southwester (Lyricalmyrical Press, 2007). His Handyman: New Poems is forthcoming from the Black Moss Press. A limited edition of his Hebdomeros Suite—with watercolours by David Bolduc—is forthcoming from Coach House Books. Dault has written widely about contemporary art in Canada in journals such as Canadian Art, Border Crossings, Ciel Variable, Prefix Photo, Parkett, and ARTNews. He contributes the weekly art-review column, “Gallery Going,” to the Globe and Mail, and has written innumerable catalogue essays for galleries and museums. As a practicing artist, Dault has exhibited frequently, most recently at Toronto’s Peak Gallery, Gallery Page & Strange in Halifax, and the Michael Gibson Gallery in London, Ontario. Upcoming in 2010, he has exhibitions at Index G in Toronto and Modern Fuel in Kingston, Ontario. Among his writings for television is the six-hour mini-series, Inside the Vatican with Sir Peter Ustinov (1993). His writings for the stage include Alice in the Orchestra (with composer Gene Di Novi, 2005), The Goal (with composer Eric Robertson, 2003), and, also with Eric Robertson, Hauntings for Orchestra (2007).

Praise for the paintings of Viktor Mitic:

“Provocative art with religious connotations.”
—Peter Goddard, Toronto Star

“Serious painting, but it’s fun . . . there is levity to it.”
—Terry Graff, Telegraph Journal

[He’s] taken . . . an iconic religious image and used a gun on it . . . What next?
—Mark Coles, BBC

Posted in Art, Catalogue, D, Fall 2009, Non-fiction | Tagged , , , , |