Present- Portraits of trees and people
Curator: Ibgui David
5 Mar — 30 April, 2016
You are facing a series of watercolor portraits created over the past decade. From such a time span, one might expect to see the artist’s changes and transformations to be able to delineate a plot line running through the years. However, Marek, the diligent practitioner, addresses the same trees and the same people before him, as if each encounter involves re-learning it all anew, as if he is careful not to apply to one portrait what he has learned from another.
“There are innumerable motifs here on the banks of the river,” Cézanne wrote in a letter to his son in 1896, “the same spot viewed from a different angle offers a subject of the utmost interest. It is so varied that I think I could keep busy for months without changing my place…” Throughout his life, Cézanne moved within the tension between Nature and Art, seeking the brushstroke which would transform matter and light into a patch of color. Marek operates within the same space, seeking
the elusive translation in the transition from reality to art. This way is the source of continual doubt, especially in watercolors, a medium in which each brushstroke is final and absolute.
Marek’s realism turns out to be of abstract qualities. The density of the color patches, their thickness and changing transparency are what create the image and provide it with personality. The papers’ white spaces do not retreat under the onslaught of the brush. Empty and full spaces are equal and complementary. As our gaze wanders over the paintings, we discover the slight transitions within the networks of changing patches, from the densely organized, cohesive areas, to the free, diluted, and unraveled ones.
The artistic language is shared here by the two types of models, but while the tree allows the artist to be selective, and continue selecting, touching, and going as deep as the artist wishes to engage, the human model returns the gaze. It seems that more than the painter examines the model, the model examines the painter.
The presence of the gaze is so intense that it charges the portrait with a triple tension: the colliding gazes of the painter and the model, the encounter of the gaze of the model and the viewer, and the feeling of a closed circuit, as if the model is examining the completed portrait, as if peering into a mirror. One person is looking at another, observing the viewer only to discover oneself.