exhibition: 21/07/2023 – 28/07/2023
Tomasz Balik’s exhibition is the first installment of his work in public space. Without completing any artistic studies, for nearly 10 years he has been creating constantly in his studio with his own means and great determination. With this exhibition, he wants to return to the roots of his interest in art: from family stories, through legends and fairy tales from his childhood. The exhibition is intended as an introduction to his work. Its task is to show where he started and what, as he supposes, shaped his way of perceiving and creating images.
The presented series consists of both realistic animal paintings referring to fairy tales and textured relief-like abstractions. The works, in their atmosphere, refer to the artist’s initial impressions of the paintings he saw in his family home – darkened oil landscapes and hunting scenes framed in heavy wooden frames. Looking at the paintings presented at the exhibition, one can notice visual echoes of the artist’s childhood fascination with dark landscapes and portraits of his grandfather’s hunting dogs.
The paintings also contain references to well-known cultural texts that most of us surely associate with our own childhood. The rabbit reminiscent of the one from “Alice in Wonderland” or the fox marking its presence in the context of “The Little Prince” emphasize the enchanting aura of Tomasz Balik’s paintings. In our conversation, he emphasized that he always saw animals very literally on one hand, and on the other hand, his imagination gave them a supernatural character. The artist’s attentiveness in perceiving animals is reflected in the way they are presented – they are painted carefully, but definitely not as imitations of photographs.
The paintings manifest Tomasz Balik’s passion for sculpture, which he studied for a short time at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. The paintings have a relief-like character, and one can see the artist’s great imagination in creating textures. As he emphasizes, abstraction (especially spatial abstraction) is a very important element in his creation. From sharp, precise images of animals, he smoothly transitions into abstract textures, and each of these creative spaces inspires him to work on the other.
Zofia Szczesna, PhD, Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow
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