MY BRUSH LIFE

by Jacek Gulla

1 of 8.

—–For me, let’s have it, to paint means to get in touch. In touch, brush in hand, with realities visible without and within myself. The touch term implies physical contact. And indeed, on my canvases I will caress in color, texture and tempi anything in view that inspires or deserves love. I will narrate in emotionally detached terms what engages only logic and reason in my perception of the world. And I will allow my brush rage or scream or weep, shall the subject matter demand such emotionally extreme involvements.

—–As opposed to Art, meaning pieces of work meant for public spaces, painting that I do aims at intimate surroundings, in proportion with chair and table, where it accompanies the person 24/7, changing hues as seasons and weather change outside the window, growing younger or older with the passing years, making more or less sense as our understanding of life evolves on the way towards the ultimate enigma.

—–I do in my works bring into play the masterpieces of the past, the way poets often talk back to Homer or Keats, rather than to the proverbial future generations. As for my subject matters, they choose me rather then I choose them, be they a vandalized bicycle, Fourth of July fireworks Philadelphia 2000, night sky reflected in a littered puddle. As I develop these on canvas, I bring them not to any preconceived state of completeness, but rather to the point, where they begin to behave on their own, as they seem to paint and repaint on themselves, revealing for meditation ever novel readings, for senses fresh pleasure. Finishing paintings is a job for executioner. From artist’s hands, let them take only what’s necessary – life.

—–My infatuation with brush and palette goes way back, to my first encounter with world class art, when royal tapestries returned from long wartime journey to Wavel Castle in Cracow in 1956. Woven in Renaissance Arras, they were, originally, as many as there are days in a year, and as many as there were walls built for Queen Bona’s quarters. Centuries depleted their numbers, Baltic pirates, empty coffers, need to pay government bills in London. Still, what got preserved, at first, distant sight, transported me into the Garden of Eden. Bestiary alive to daze, God in His Majesty advising Noah about the Ark, out of the lush greenery crowns and monograms of the monarchs taking bud and leaf. But I needed only come close a step or two, and the biblical scenery disclosed streams of treads, tread to tread tightly, just like – to my utmost amazement – like the treads my grandma used on the holes in my socks!

——Heaven-stitched my socks proved indeed to be. In years, I was to owe them the proverbial follow-the-tread way to the wool ball, insights into the workings of the contemporary art world. Starting with my falling out of grace with God of treads, I was in for long free fall, wherever I went. Kantor’s Dead Class macabresque troupe before leaving Poland, Warhol’s Interview here in NYC, Julian Schnabel’s dinner plates shattered at inception party for Neo Realism, writing art illuminations for SoHo’s golden years, parties, openings, and more openings, I’ve been there, I’ve done that, as Lauren Hutton used to brag.

—–As of late, a sorry story, I find myself a clueless caretaker – among a myriad other cares – of a group of 23 paintings. I know, what to do with them, but not, how to. I call them Mythology. They are addressed to spacious, clean, functional environs, Nature to Culture for the course. Dionysus dancing, chained to earth by the ankle. Zeus in Danae’s dream. Lion King and a Siren en flagrante. The brushwork as fresh and poignant, as the dawn of our era deserves. Aeolian blue, plenty of it, but also NYC orange of night time, as is the case with Midas. One painting though, it’s missing, and ominously so, from the number, as I count them now. Apollo weeping for the head that his discus opened, a man beloved to gods, how Hyacinth flower was seeded, a name, from which mine takes root.

—–Blame envy, why god Zephyrus, his ill breath, ruined what couldn’t have been his. Whether or not to include the villain, painting will decide. But this much I am ready to offer for a deal. The missing painting is his or hers, who ever shall that be, if only that person happens to help find my Mythology, deserving as it is, exhibition timespace.

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