16 February – 24 March 2019
Exhibition: Through Floors, Within Rooms: Portraits by Stefan Orlowski Severn Studio, Brantwood
Stefan Orlowski is a dedicated oil painter. In conjunction with his ongoing investigation into figuration and portraiture, Stefan explores landscape with the aim of eliciting the same unsettling qualities and tensions that underlie his general practice. His first exhibition at Brantwood, this exhibition will be of Stefan’s incredibly sensitive, beautiful and sometimes disquieting portrait work.
The work on display focuses on a small handful of relationships, whose portraits recur in situations and common place realities that the artist manipulates to explore certain themes and concerns regarding the intimate scrutiny of the human figure; corporal honesty, anxiety, discomfort and a drive to explore physical and existential dichotomies. The works are predominantly executed in the traditional media of Oil or Egg Tempera, depending on the subject and intention of a given work. The differences in approach and execution are a simulacrum of divergent drives in the artist; precision and rigour versus the gestural and suggestive. At times the paintwork can feel agitated in its handling as though contorted by anxious tension. In other works the handling may feel more yielding and tempered by a certain quietude or sympathy of feeling.
The environments of each subject are at times scrutinised and constructed around the individual to enhance a certain state of mind or accentuate a mood, perhaps driven by the psychological states of both artist and subject. A slumbering figure lies linen cocooned in the early morning, glimpsed daily through a half open door. Another squirms under artificial light upon a cold studio work top. Others sit plaintively in dull, dim rooms. Heads and hands contort on the grounded surface of the canvas.
The attempt is not to make pleasant images but to reveal, sometimes uncomfortably, prosaic daily realities and the emotional charge that they carry.
‘Through Floors, Within Rooms’ will be on display in the Severn Studio at Brantwood, open every day Wed-Sun 10.30am – 4.00pm and from 18 March 2019 10.30am-5.00pm. Admission is included in the house or garden ticket. For further information please contact Brantwood, Coniston, LA21 8AD, Cumbria. T: 015394 41396. www.brantwood.org.uk