Darek Nowakowski

To fall in love in modern times is really difficult. To fall in love with no way out is dangerous. But what is life worth without a risk? I took the risk and I went to Clark, a small town in New Jersey, to visit the Skulski Art Gallery, successfully directed by interesting Polish-born artist, Aleksandra K. Nowak. Going there I did not even think I would find anything interesting, being aware of some other shows of Polish young painters I was able to see at the time. So I found myself doubly impressed and amazed when I saw Darek Nowakowski's "Moods" for the first time. I can say that I found myself being completely drowned into the miraculous world of Darek's painting. I immediately knew that it will be a beginning of something new, the beginning of a relationship which will no come easy to an end soon. It was exciting and mysterious. I could only stare at the huge canvases hung on the walls which were glowing in a luminosity of their own. And I did not know if it was day or night outside, what time it was, and where I was. There was only me and a strange realm of Darek's moods with unusual colors and enigmatic shapes. It was my first encounter with his works and it was my first walk with angels in his magical court of moods and dreams. I would easily say after Alfred Kubin that "I looked and quivered with delight. Here a new art was thrown open to me which offered free play for the imaginative expression of every conceivable world of feeling." Darek called his paintings very personal, and though they do not seem to emit happiness, I want people to judge them for themselves. It is true. It is very private, personal world. World of the extreme lyricism and spirituality. The realm of artists secrets, dreams, feelings, and deepest emotions. He achieved in this series of paintings something what is given to those few chosen artists. He expressed the unexpressed, he found the way to show spiritual and mystical states of his soul in the dream-like, symbolic images. Timeless shapes and abstract forms perfectly portray artists suffering and sorrow at the time. If anyone asked anyone what I paint, I could not say. Everyone just has to find his own meaning he said in an interview in 1996. He is also very enigmatic about himself. Maybe because he is extremely modest and sensitive person. He was born in 1962 in Lodz, Poland. He graduated from School of Fine Arts and received his MFA from Academy of Fine Arts in his hometown. He has had his works presented in the shows in Poland, United States, and Japan. Now he lives in New York. He added: It just comes straight from my head. That is just the way I am. They are not happy paintings. I just like them this way.

Nowakowski's compositions are bold and monumental. He avoids to many details but his combinations of color are clear, sometimes even expressively sharp. On the other hand, effects of atmosphere, light, and space are subtly nuanced. The pictures in the "Moods" series really may be regarded as "abstract" art, but it is the result not of some speculative aesthetics but rather of a deliberate attempt to portray light and stillness (motionless) in isolation from all other objects. They are somehow similar to the Funeral Symphony,1903, by Lithuanian Symbolist painter, M. K. Ciurlionis (1875-1911), a cycle of seven pastels, where he showed both the existential fate of all mankind and individual grief in the void left behind. Like Ciurlionis' cycle Nowakowski's "Moods" are precisely composed as musical themes, as mourning symphonies. An important role in the structure of their series is played by certain plastic components, which provide a narrative unity: the changing and recurrent directions of the shapes, the delicate modulation of light and color. The "Moods" could remind also about one of the greatest Italian Futurist painters, Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916), whose "Those Who Stay", 1911, were deeply influenced by Symbolism. This strange, allegorical drawing, showing a procession of angels with the fallen wings in the dream-sleep-like city has an extreme lyricism and ability to show sensations and "states of soul" of the artist. When I saw Dareks paintings for the first time, my thoughts went straight to the "mood" paintings, often pure landscapes, sometimes landscapes with figures, of Swiss-born artist, Arnold Bocklin (1827-1901). His the most celebrated, and my favorite, "The Island Of The Dead", 1880, called by the artist, as a picture for dreaming over, " with its unbelievable radiating mystery made an immense impression on my youth, an impression which is still present today.It was the same with Nowakowski's paintings. They do not depict nature as it actually exists, but rather bring impressions, which create a new and different world, "governed" by its own subjective mood. The mood here is one of withdrawal, of rejection of reality. The viewer does not really know, if he is looking at the strange, forgotten megalith sites, offering altars, cemetery passages, the cypresses, or colonnades filled with unusual red and yellow light. Light, being a radiant mass in the midst of the surrounding darkness. Nowakowski is here close to the mystical theories of color of the German Romantic artist, Philip Otto Runge (1777-1810). He wrote in one of his letters that color is the last art that always will be an enigma. It is as an enigma of Trinity. Therefore, could these luminous colors in Darek's paintings be an attempt to show his mystical or philosophical meditations? Only the artist knows the answer and I am sure that it would be no less enigmatic than his strange but wonderful works. Works that give the viewers a particular delights by their exceptional sincerity, their authentic dream-like appearance, and their profound spiritual content. Even though his "dreaming" paintings, full of fantastic and visionary tendencies, enigmatic and imaginative, could remind the viewer of the work of Symbolists of XIX/XX century with their mood, they are still works of extraordinary originality with their almost divine melancholy and unearthly sadness. J. K. K















              Website designed by Marek Litwin
                   Copyright 2005-2014