Rafal Zawistowskiâ€™s work plays on the viewerâ€™s recognition of certain well-worn subjects in western painting in order to re-energise the act of looking. Head-like forms in fat clumps of encaustic (pigment mixed with hot wax, to create a thick and nubbled surface) are highlighted with sprayed haloes or aureoles and titled after significant figures from Catholic iconography: Jesus, Mary and Judas, but also Benedict XV and John Paul II.
His palette â€“ nightclub pinks and neon yellows â€“ creates a kitsch separation between subject and handling, and place the gnarled surfaces at a remove from the rest of the painting. Thereâ€™s a sense in which the gaudy aureoles become quotation marks around the figure, or even a kind of barrier or cage, compounding the haunted, disintegrating look of some of the popes, recalling Francis Baconâ€™s similar treatment of the subject.
Rafal Zawistowski Benedict XV
Oil and wax on linen
70 x 60cm
That the meshes of thick paint never quite coalesce into a recognisable form is part of the point: the familiar face is never fully revealed, terminally stilled in the act of becoming, spirit never quite transcending matter.
Born in 1981, Warsaw, Poland
Lives and works in London, UK
SOLO AND GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2014 Wimbledon Open Studios: London.
A Casual Phenomenology: Husk Gallery, London.
Heatherleyâ€™s School of Fine Art Staff Exhibition: Bankside Gallery, London.
2013 Aura: Teodora Art Gallery, Toronto
Forgotten Paradise: Gallery on the Corner, London.
Come Dine With Me: BearSpace Gallery, London.
Directions: Graham Hunter Gallery, London.
New Order: Saatchi Gallery, London.
Seven Artists : The Strand Gallery, London.
2012 The Unkindness: The Graham Hunter Gallery, London (solo)
Halo: New Paintings,Cream & Canvas Gallery, London (solo)
Intuition/Anti-Intuition, Lion and Lamb Gallery, London
Subject to Change : Perspectives From UK based Polish Artists, Kursaal Gallery Space. Southend on Sea
Making Waves: Works from the Saatchi Collection, Hyatt Regency, London
One Giant Leap: Works from the Saatchi Collection, Hyatt Regency, London
2011 Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, London
Wimbledon MA Exhibition, Wimbledon College of Art. London.
CCW Salon Chisinhale Gallery. London.
Fly Tipping Centre For Drawing Wimbledon College. London
The Nunnery Futura Bold/Oblique. London.
CCW Salon New Gallery. London.
2010 Salad2 Foyer Gallery Wimbledon College. London