Although his family background and musical talent indicated that Ivan Ouhel was following a musical career, he was attracted to the visual arts from an early age. In 1968 he was accepted to the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague for his strong talent. In the fifth year, he won the so-called Academy Award of the Academy, thanks to which he got on a monthly scholarship trip to Italy. He traveled all over Tuscany with several classmates, where he had the opportunity to get acquainted with the works of masters of the trecent and quattrocent, especially Giotto, Masaccio, Pier della Francesca and Fra Angelica, whose master painting completely enchanted the young painter. He admired their apparent simplicity and at the same time the brilliant treatment of space and colors. The strongest experience for him was a visit to the cemetery chapel in the small village of Monterchi in Tuscany with a painting of the Madonna by Pier della Francesca. Today, although this painting has already been transferred to a separate museum and there is only a copy on the spot, visitors are still breathtaking with its simplicity, but at the same time monumentality.
No wonder, then, that Ivan Ouhel fell in love with Italy, and this country does not seem to be indifferent to him either. Ouhel twice had the opportunity to exhibit at the Venice Biennale, in 1984 and for the second time in 1988, when he exhibited even eight large canvases, which garnered numerous responses. Ivan Neumann, then director of the Czech Museum of Fine Arts in Prague, gave Ouhel a contact with Petr Porçal, a Florence-based art historian of Czech origin who introduced him to many local artists and art historians, including Andre B. del Guercius and the painter, and Dr. Mimm Roselli. He became his great friend and show kind. Despite the seemingly different artistic expressions, the two artists were very close from the beginning, as evidenced by several joint exhibitions. For all of them, let us name the exhibition in the New Hall in Prague in 1993 and two years later in San Salvatore al Monte in Florence. The fact that they shared Roselli's studio in Bagno e Ripolli near Florence in the summer months for years also proves that they are close to each other.
This year's exhibition at the Incorniciarte Gallery in Verona, entitled Geometry and Light, proves that Ivan Ouhel likes to return to Italy and is welcome there. The title is based on a still unfinished series of paintings, some of which were already exhibited at the end of last year in Příbram, some were at the exhibition in Trutnov at the time of writing, and a small piece will be presented to the Italian audience in Verona. Ouhel is often described as a landscape painter, although he captures the essence and impressions of the landscape in his work rather than the real landscape - light impressions, color compositions and structures. In recent years, he has been transforming the landscape into simple geometric shapes, which he sometimes arranges in a graphic way. At the same time, however, he blends these perfect geometric constructions with natural, relaxed paintings that bring life and excitement to the landscapes.