“The vibrant pioneering modern Poet of Poland”
words by Le Mufti
A journey through the visual senses unfurls before your eyes as you contemplate Grzegorz Lewacki and his Tolkien inspired imagery for the first time. By the sixth viewing, you are still making inroads into this ethereal, yet virgin territory, or is it “middle earth”? You are still, a pioneer in discovery mode. Now that’s weird isn’t it? Shouldn’t you by this stage be well versed in the visual landscape of this painter’s mind? Yet something still drags you back there for the sheer pleasure, as well as an answer that remains elusive, well doesn’t it??
The pleasure of uncovering more little details attracts you back again and again! The parameters are more distinguishable now though, more defined: while the memories remain, you are aware of the vibrancy still, as it shines, as the first time you saw these paintings! You know, now, where you stand in respect of certain things. There is clarity. But there is still more to uncover here, through the layers of paint. As these layers unravel, in the mind’s eye, habitual objects such as armchairs or the tree cities of the “woodland realms” stand out in this visual exploration. Or for that matter, whatever comes into the equation; and makes a statement of “Normality” within the picture.
All around your field of vision is a diversity of allegorical statements coming from different angles, while remaining true to the whole.
The message is clear as well as it is not. It is a matter of conjecture, how this richness of diversity works. In fact, the artist seems to unveil the secret garden of his own soul: rich with creative expression. With the juxtaposition of the mundane “hum-drum” to glue it’s separate surrealist collage abstractions into some kind of “Real” order. A working structure is in place. There seems in fact to be present in this work, a historical undercurrent that relates as well to the last five decades, which I instinctively seek to find in these organic constructions.
Diverse creative out-put sometimes clandestine and Polish resilience to all adversity somehow appears to have returned strengthened by these historical ordeals. But resourcefulness is at odds here, with the events of the 20th Century: notably: the Second World War, and Stalin’s brutal occupation. Now Poland starts to believe again that it has a role to play. There is a new sense of optimism. There is hope. Good vibes oozes from this work as a reflection of this re-emerging national sentiment so often repressed in the past for reasons of doctrine. There is an obvious yet more subtle, if subliminal reaction. A response, that can only come quietly from this artist’s palette. It is an optimistic message and it is happy. This work can join properly into European art circles, it is prepared to play a role; but still unsure of its message yet, I feel.
It’s like there are two worlds at odds in the paintings of Lewacki. The first is calm. The shires? A cosmic fairytale through its celebration of nature, rich in poetry… floating like these busy dragonflies fluttering across one painting, like squadrons in formation. Lewacki examines the pastoral allegory by using these living and organic effects in the composition, as well as referring to a song. As stated before, there is poetry in abundance in this work. There is lyricism and it is always speaking to you.
Then there is in the second: Mordor’s saturnian reality check. I get the impression that it tries to examine and re-examine the legacy of the post Stalinist years. It hints at the advent of the modern industrial age now at odds with ecological concerns. The dream of the power of nature and man’s insignificance within it as well as man’s selfishness and destructive streak within this world.
But so much for history… And yet the artist’s examinations of the absurdities of it all: the joke of his own country’s experience, for want of a better word. Well it’s all there. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of seeing how his work has evolved in the last ten years. How does he describe his style? Is it “conceptual”, “realist-dreamer” or just a plain celebration of the profound beauty of nature, with the paw print marks of man’s presence in a Tolkien-like universe?
The landscape of expression here is multi-faceted, intriguing by the questions it asks of its viewer. You feel like a trespasser in Lewacki’s back yard: the secret garden of Lewacki’s soul eternally it seems at work: a garden of many colours and collages, rich in subtle nuances and with vibrant tones and subtle parables. This body of work uses the well defined as well as the well-healed formulas of what we would describe nowadays as “Classic” fine art painting mixing it with collage. And yet, the painting style uses the same tried yet tested styles of composition by the simple actions of the brush strokes. Nothing fancy at first glance, no. It’s all nuts and bolts stuff. No nonsense, but poetic in the same breadth. Yes! I am repeating myself but the lyricism here must be stressed at all costs, if one is to understand the true nature of Lewicki’s message exposed for our pleasure and enjoyment.
I wander before these pictures and ask myself if good old fashioned “sponging” (does he decorate in his spare time? I muse. Well you know, a Real job!) techniques from the academy of fine arts are present here. Palette work, as well as some clever “smudging” is at the basis of the overall framework of these paintings as they seem to smoke or bubble before you a fine haze of colours superimposing on themselves on other colours to highlight or confuse, or even attempt to entice you even deeper into these virgin lands…The collaged elements add to the surreal elements, which in some of the paintings reminded me of some of Max Ernst’s works.
These canvases now wait to be discovered and appreciated. They need more time to be fully understood. But there is no hurry. At first glance, this work has the potential for being used for all sorts of things like: a quality Screen Saver or for Duvet cover designs etcetera. I would therefore suggest to this artist to have his work copyrighted as soon as possible..
This body of work is hopefully coming over to Britain in the not too distant future… with Mr Lewacki, as I’d like to shake his hand. Then thank him, frankly from the bottom of an old artist’s heart, for bringing back this type of painting in this age of conceptual realism and installations galore ad nauseam. Where are those “classic” disciplines of Fine Art hiding these days of digital discovery in Western culture? Here in Lewacki, we have a new breed of artist returning with a poet’s vision to translate Tolkien’s imagination into his own, thus taking it even further. Coming from a different working European culture of expression. He is an artisan, a craftsman who looks into the past while acknowledging the present.
Explore the pictures that accompany your journey.