Lukáš Karbus belongs among the group of artists that is tightly connected with the lifestyle and conditions in which the works originate. In his case this represents an intensive connection with nature and landscape in which, however, he does not spend the romantic times of a wondering artist creating in open air. Lukáš Karbus makes a living as an agriculturist in northern Bohemia and this work is also recognizable in his watercolour drawings and paintings that he works on in the evenings after he is done with his daily responsibilities. Therefore the landscape, which is the most frequent subject of his art work, does not originate by mere observation, instead it is inner landscape or internally experienced, which is reflected by the expressive character of depiction. We can see its diversity and mosaic character accompanied by rich earth colours; it is as if something from its material and shape wealth was actually imprinted here. At the same time we can register a mystical experience, which is not connected with something above us, however, but rather with something here on earth and in its depth. Unlike expressionists, whose paintings are distinguished by nervousness and a torn up feeling, Karbus’ paintings are calm, down to earth and filled with its own order, almost as if the drawing conducted and guided the earthiness of the watercolour painting. In addition to landscapes, we can also see another traditional subject in his work, which is closely related to this order. Still life usually appears on his paintings together with landscape, which we can see, for example, in a window opening, or it is sometimes separated and bounded with colourful ornamentation that creates rich layers of colourful fields and clever, sometimes almost playful compositions. Art critic and curator, Jiří Ptáček, who also organized several of his exhibitions and is certainly partly responsible for introducing this artist to the wider public, aptly wrote about what takes place in Karbus’ paintings: “The compositional schemes of the Renaissance still life and romantic landscapes inside them suit the games with images plans, mirroring motives and the disruption of emerging symmetry, with the harmonization of eternity and fantasy, idyll and dramatic character.”
Karbus is no weekend painter and although his paintings and drawings can be associated with naiveness , it is a misconception. This artist works knowingly and sophisticatedly with the painting tradition and thanks to his linkage to the local conditions, specific life and a diversion from tendentious art and trends of the contemporary art world, his work has unique character. An important aspect of his work is his workmanship and polished use of colour that he uses to fill individual areas of his landscape mosaics and that sometimes resemble window wall art of medieval cathedrals. We will not see a human or any other living creature in Karbus’ drawings and paintings, making them appear peaceful and quiet but at the same time somewhat apocalyptic. Even a traditional folk cottage, which in many respects resembles Jurkovič’s pseudo-folk buildings, doesn’t help to change this tone as behind it are swelling nuclear power plant chimneys or it is standing alone in a valley between rocks (drawing with a characteristic title Smutek na severu (Sadness of the North), 2008). Currently we can come across his work which is purely abstract, referring to sedimentary rocks and earth crystals. In most cases, however, there are three levels of landscape intermeshing: still life as a manmade scene, natural landscape of northern Bohemia, as well as abstract and ornamental landscape.