You are blazing and burning
2000, oil on canvas, 210×120 cm
He opens it with a cut
2000, oil on canvas, 110×234 cm
I have not known, Death, that you are the most mysterious Love
2000, oil on canvas, 65×118 cm



Whatever we do in life grows old in the same moment, becomes something that has already passed. It is the passing away of things that gives us an opportunity to find new paths. We must cut into the old, the familiar and the secure and cut it into pieces to put together a new image. The moment we reach deep into the wound of the old and when we gently, so as not to hurt it, get a hold of the new image, sorrow for the old and happiness for the new combine, pain and pleasure combine. We leave the old as the butterfly leaves its cocoon, and we set the new image free. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians: Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Cor 5, 14-15, 17-21)

Each new painting of Natalija Šeruga is a new image that she reached through her previous paintings. She started within the framework of traditional painting, with a canvass stretched on a wooden frame of geometric shapes. Her paintings combined two or three parts, most commonly a circle which she divided into half and inserted a square between its halves.

Natalija composes her story from small parts: fingerprints, feathers, hair, etc. Fragmenting and ornamenting of the surface enabled her, as later on sewing did, to contemplate. Then Wings followed. She stretched the canvass onto a metal frame of irregular shapes. The geometric shape of a circle divided into half has been transformed into an organic form which renders a sensation of weightlessness and fragility. The inserted square has also changed. Her most recent paintings have become more unified.

The border between the halves and the inserted pieces has become less visible. The irregular form and the stitches give an impression that the painting consists of several parts. She still sews the canvass onto a metal framework. The stitches become an integral part of the painting. It is clear to see what the stable and tense part of the picture is: stitches, cuts into canvass. Two and three part paintings merged into one and the fragmented pieces also merge into bigger surfaces. She fills those in with small strokes of the brush and to create a vibrating space.

Natalija does not use sketched drawings or paintings to create her images. Her creativity is most often stimulated by the words of writers, poets or philosophers and the talks with friend and passengers on the trains whom she meets by accident (or not?). She sometimes finds new images by the way, in the tail of a dog, in ivy leaves, a teapot, in the feather of a bird etc. Words and images stimulate her inner processes that she then turns into a picture to present them to herself and see herself. And what she sees becomes old again so that she can create something new. The lost part that she is looking for is no longer outside her. She knows it is within her. However, there is still a fissure of time and space that the painter will sew on the next paintings. She will continue to put together, look for the missing parts and balance, but everything will be more stable, more peaceful and closer to purity.

Brigita Strnad
(text from the catalogue Natalija Šeruga: Bolest in strast sta v isti krozni crti /Pain and Passion are on the Same Circular Line/, Art Gallery Maribor, 2002, Slovenia)