Aleksander Roszkowski: Local Landscape

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There are 21 Alexander Roszkowski’s paintings in the exhibition, from various periods of his rich artistic life: from landscapes created as early as the 1990s, characterized by a subtle color palette, through impressions from far travels, to the newest works from his studio in the Suwałki Region which have not been presented at any exhibition yet.
The title of the exhibition, “Pejzaż lokalny” (English: “Local landscape”), draws attention to the environment as an important source of inspiration, observed attentively by the artist since his student years. In the newest cycle, Roszkowski does not use the white color which has been the hallmark of his color palette so far and has endowed his works with luminosity and lightness. In recent years, the artist has begun to experiment with regular motifs and pure colors, including black which has not been so dominant in his works for a long time. He plays with surprising color schemes of large-format works which contrast with the subdued nature of his smaller canvases and with the polyptych from 2018. Roszkowski admits that after a period of intense work on paintings composed of many layers of black creating an intricate texture, he needed respite in the form of a refreshed color scheme with paint selected and put on to create subtle nuances instead of contrasts.
The “Morze Baffina” (English: “Baffin Bay”) painting presented on the cover stands belongs to the series "Water Landscapes” to which the artist regularly have returned for many years. At the same time it stands out against the background of Roszkowski’s other works due to the unusual colors and facture. It is an outcome of one of the artist’s travels to the polar circle and of his confrontation with the landscape he had first seen in 1993 and has not become familiar with yet. Having spent lonely hours at the rudder during long journeys on the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, he was inspired to reach for blue and navy blue which pervaded the landscapes he observed. In such paintings as “Iceland”, “Sermeq Kujalleq”, or “N68'48.519, W54'04.321”, there are bravely contrasted colors: navy blue and orange, red and blue. That fantastic array of colors transcends what the human eye would admit to be real or typical for a phenomenon, and, at the same time, in a suggestive manner, takes the viewer on a journey to the Arctic land.
The presented works, with their various formats and styles, illustrate the diversity of ways in which landscape can be painted: from realistic to completely abstract, from a presentation of its friendly and tame face to images of the horror and power of nature. Roszkowski’s work betrays his incessant curiosity and internal need to experiment and discover the ever-new possibilities of this seemingly well-established genre of art – landscape painting – as well as of painting in general. They are a testimony to the artist’s sensitivity and, in his own words, “sentimentality” which is also the driving force of his art. Canvases, like pages in a diary, are a record of ephemeral impressions, memories, and moments of delight, which protects those experiences against the imperfections of memory and the passing time.
Locality, within the meaning of the nearest environment, is present in those paintings in the form of the frequently repeated motifs of the roads traveled daily, of the meadows and hills which surround the studio in the Suwałki Region, and of the sand embankments created over the years near the Vistula River which flows through Warsaw – the city with which Roszkowski has been associated since his birth.
The concept of ‘locality’ also includes the specificity of the landscape changes depending on the weather and the seasons of the year and is captured by the painter’s eyes which operate like a scientific instrument in that they register air humidity, the unique light, or even temperature in the paintings.
The artist strives to faithfully represent the summer chamomile fields and snowy hills in his home country as well as starry nights over the oceans surrounding Iceland and Greenland, a sparkling glacier, and a sunrise over the unbounded horizon.
The balancing between the vibrancy of contrasts, on the one hand, and on the other hand, concentration and moderation, appears to be both Roszkowski’s characteristic and an inalienable element of his art, which is always infused with various moods and invariably affirms all aspects of reality, evanescence, and the sense of a threat and loss.
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