Mikołaj Obrycki was born in Szczecin, Poland. He graduated from Academy of Fine Arts (hereinafter ASP) in Poznan in 2003.
Mikołaj Obrycki urodził się w Szczecinie. Dyplom Akademii Sztuk Pięknych
otrzymał w 2003 roku w pracowni prof.Jerzego Kałuckiego.
2012 Bochenska Gallery, "Anecdotes", Warsow
2012 Perlegal Gallery, "New paintings", Poznań
2012 Galeria Garbary 48, "Witkacy", Poznań
2011 Gusthaus, Ramin, Niemcy, wystawa towarzysząca obchodom SOJ
2011 Schowek Gallery, " Okolice Jazz'u", Szczecin
2011 Pałac w Lubostroniu, "Okresy twórczości", Lubostroń
2011 Polswiss Art, “Odsłony kobiecości”, Warszawa
2011 BWA, “Metamorfozy”, Sieradz
2010 Perlegal Gallery, Poznań
2010 Art Galle Gallery, Szczecin
2010 Napiórkowska Gallery, Warszawa
2010 Gallery Piano Bar Stary Browar, "Inimene", Poznań
2010 Novotel, Poznań
2010 Andersia, "Andersia project", Poznań
2009 Stara Drukarnia, "Celebrities", Poznań
2007 Gallery Stary Browar, Poznań
2007 Andersia Tower Project, Poznań
2007 Digital Culture, Warszawa
2007 Art Fair Sollentuna, Stockholm
2006 The Polish Theatre Gallery, Poznań
2006 Art Du Nu, Art Fair, Paris
2006 Gallery in Muzyczna Waga, Poznań
2006 Gallery in Nalewka, Poznań
2006 AWC Gallery, Warszawa
2006 Art Space Gallery, London
2006 Sculpture Gallery, Gdańsk
2005 Gallery Rodan, Warszawa
2005 Galeria Sainte Marthe, Paris
2005 Gallery Hansgrohe - Aquademia, Tarnowo Podgórne
2005 Gallery Dedo, Poznań
2004 Gallery of Art, Legnica
2004 Gallery JDJ-Bachalski, Warszawa
2004 Empik Gallery, Poznań
2004 Participation in R Gallery, Poznań
2004 Dune art Gallery, Kopenhaga
2003 A diploma exhibition in Arsenal Gallery, Poznań
2003 Bank PKO Promotion Gallery, Poznań
2002 Kamea Cafe Gallery, Poznań
2002 Pod Pretekstem Cafe, Poznań
2002 Polony Gallery, Poznań
2002 Poznań University, Gallery
2001 Trzynascie Muz Gallery, Szczecin
2001 Arsenal Gallery - Jubilee of Polony Gallery, Poznań
2001 An exhibition in Radisson SAS Company Gallery, Szczecin
2001 An individual exhibition in Polony Gallery, Poznań
2000 ASP Gallery –the grant for 2000/2001 academic year, Poznań
2000 Participation in the presentation of ASP students’ works, Poznań
2000 Polony and Fabrik Gallery, Poznań
2000 Radisson SAS Company Gallery, Szczecin
2000 Kisielice-Club-Gallery, Poznań
2000 Participation in Browary Exhibition, Poznań
2000 The presentation of students works, Poznań
1999 Participation in T.Ch.M.Society Charity Auction, Poznań
1999 Radisson SAS Hotel Gallery, Szczecin
1998 An individual exhibition in the Academy of Fine Art Poznań Gallery
1998 Participation in International Poznań Fair Exhibition
1994 First Floor Cafe Gallery, Szczecin
Critic: Ewa Herniczek
What lies behind the horizon? About Mikołaj Obrycki’s paintings
Echoes of the classics sound in Mikołaj Obrycki’s paintings. From single objects similar to Monett’s, blue figures of Picasso and his Harlequins, through synthetic landscapes of Nicolas de Stael, compositions of T.P. Potworowski and simple scenes of Józef Czapski – all of these motives and forms that state a direct connection with these great predecessors appear in Mikołaj’s works. We cannot, however, put his works into plain comparison with the classics of the kind. We can find a specific liberal attitude – most clearly seen in “Birds” and “Friends”, or in the animal motives and bar scenes – a frequent topic of his works. The other side of his works can be seen in his landscapes, in which synthetically treated form and radically simple compositions seem to reflect the inspirations coming from the far eastern paintings. The simplicity of the form comes with the aware, and often very sublime, usage of paint that contributes to the expression of these synthetically treated forms. Color sensitivity and very good technique are no doubt his attributes.
A chronological review of Mikołaj Obrycki’s works shows the evolution of painting forms and techniques used by him, from expressive, spontaneous , sometimes even extravagant solutions, through aware reduction of means of expression, up to more intentionally built compositions in which form, color and light merge to create a clear expression. The artist, using mainly oil and acrylic techniques, uses their characteristic features that allow him to reach hi visions without losing the lightness of form. With figure compositions the most important thing is finding the solution to the form and choosing the right colors, whereas in landscape motives the problem composition of space and light seems to become a much more important problem. It can clearly be seen in Mikołaj’s last paintings, the cycles “On the horizon” and “Factories”, and also in landscapes from Tarnowo Podgórne and the painting “Horizon”. The ability to build cohesive compositions revealed itself in early works of the artist (variations upon “Bridge”, 2002; “Variations with cleaning”, 2001; “Świnoujście” and “Landscapes with sticks”) proving he can use bold solutions and sacrifice plain esthetics to build an aware painting composition.
Also the evolution of the palette of colors used by the painter seems interesting. It moves slowly from a wide chromatic range of intense colors to compositions with dull, faded ones, very often those of lowered quality. But with limited range of colors, Mikołaj’s works gain this subtlety so specific to him, that in time reveals a fully aware creation of tension and contrast between colors. It seems that the middle stage of this evolution is a group of landscape paintings created in 2002, where Mikołaj used only a simple composition of matching form and colors (“Warta” 2002; “Sea view” 2002). These works are probably the most radical attempts to limit the means of formal expression – the effect is a much more aware building of composition and settings of dominant colors in his later works.
The sense of the artist to comment on the surrounding reality allows him to create scenes like “people in the sun”, “Under Minoga Pub” or “On the beach”. It also reveals itself in much more synthetic compositions of “Greedy King” or “Puzdron” and “Red King”. Some of the scenes bring to mind the motives known from the works of Teresa Pągowska, but still they keep a clear Obrycki style (“Alligators”, “Bonke”).
Mikołaj Obrycki is a young artist. But the full review of his works shows an uncanny sensitivity and the ability to create solutions to his visions. It allows us to have great expectations from his still evolving artistic personality. For me the most interesting motive in his art remains the tendency of reducing the expressions of his paintings, at the same time enriching them with the subtle means of his technique. I can’t resist the feeling that observation of reality with all the things that reality provides, mostly light and space relations, is a constant source of inspiration to Mikołaj and it leads him with every attempt to focus on his ability to create the painters equivalent of those phenomena. I’d like to sincerely wish Mikołaj at least a few escapades to Sieradz, Konin or Świnoujście, to find the post –factory architecture or small town alleys, where he would see their fascinating meanings. With curiosity I await what the Artist will see behind the “Horizons” in 2006.
To „catch” painting
It was once said about Mikołaj Obrycki’s paintings that they are intuitive in the sense that being painted without a preliminary concept they’re not an effect of visualizing some sort of an idea. Intuition suggests moving in a near total darkness or even – being lost. While painting intuitively you show you have intuition. What does it mean, though, to have intuition? To predict that in a moment or some time, in some kind of a situation, something will happen. Is intuition not a result of experience, from which the feeling arises? The artist who paints intuitively knows what’s going to happen when he touches the canvas with a brush for the second time. But is so understood intuitive painting any different from walking an already known path?
It’s hard to agree that naming intuitive painting, very often stated quickly and nonchalantly, should put it only in negative light. The effects of such a simplification would be dire. We would negate the painter his right to be “in a state trans” and “be amazed with colors”, “the freedom of reaction”, “the right to be spontaneous”. All these words come from a past attempt by Zdzisław Kępiński to catch the phenomena of Teresa Pągowska’s paintings, the paintings that come to mind when you look at some of Obrycki’s paintings (though these don’t let us forget about Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Jean Miro or Mark Rothko, especially those specific paintings that possess two rectangular surfaces, one over the other). The term “to have intuition” you can understand differently than predicting on the basis of experience, mainly as a feeling that something will happen, that nobody expects, that nothing foretells. Intuitive painting is allowing something new to happen. Isn’t then intuitive painting the sense of creation?
What does it mean – to allow, what is being done? Artur Nacht-Samborski once wanted to paint on a huge canvas: “Bigger than me, fun. It’s going to be an experiment, an adventure. I want to go blind, start in a few places, without premeditation, anywhere, even from a corner, not thinking about associations with things, as if not knowing that you paint. To stop, look, but not judge. To catch – then it will go by itself”. That which is caught by painting, that which is new and not foretold – this is what “goes by itself” – without reason. Allowing something new to happen – it means “catching”. Can you, as Artur Nacht-Samborski says, start “blind” and “anywhere”? Probably yes, if we understand by it the elimination of some psychophysical features, like premeditation. But isn’t realizing you start “anywhere” or “from the corner” premeditation? Should we admit that the act of painting is conditional? Is “from the corner” really “anywhere” or is it rather in a set place in front of the artist?
These questions come to my mind when I stand in front of Obrycki’s canvas. Many of his paintings (“Washing” cycle) possess a thin or a mere sharp line, or a wider band, that state a primary division – a division that connects the sides and reminds of the existence of one condition – that of the surface of the painting. Showing this condition this division seems to be synonymous to this “catch”, from which all “goes by itself”, and growing it changes into a distant landscape. Sometimes you get a feeling these paintings are only “caught”, daringly solved and euphorically painted. They seem splendidly and perfectly set in the border of the canvas. As if “catching” alone was sufficient for the creation of a painting intrigue At the same time making us wonder what does “going by itself” mean…
Critic: Katarzyna Grabowska
The painter of the World
Mikołaj Obrycki is an artist most of all. Painting is the most visible form of his artistic expression, but not the only one. He also creates movie etudes, his other great passion is photography and, the last but not the least, constant writing. Back in his younger age there was also music school and a clarinet, but it soon proved that the stage and the audience are not for him. He prefers the solitude of a painter in front of a canvas, he choose focus and meditation. That way of spending his time and the role of an observer overlooking the world from a distance is a source of his artistic experience. That way he can oppose his own seduction to the fascination of the world.
Obrycki has at least 50 exhibitions and at least hundreds of paintings on his account. Some would surely say he is a very productive artist. It’s true – he paints a lot, though it’s a bit relative, even for him. There are times when he creates for 20 hours a day, there are some when he works less hard. It’s a case of his pure intuition. It’s the same with the topics of his works – he doesn’t plan them. It’s just that something inspires him and he transfers it onto a canvas until the moment his paint runs dry or the motive is gone, it doesn’t interest him anymore.
Painting is for Obrycki an intuitive way of reaching the world through asking questions. “I eliminate as much as I can from a painting. I believe it to be a metaphor for slowing down the motions – so many motions and sounds of the world that are in such disarray with each other. Such action comes from the need to regain peace and harmony, the clarity of meanings. I think that it’s a form of an escape from the many meanings of the modern world and modern cities. The cities I live in and the world that I see through the media. Naming that which is painted I know it anew”. The entire world is a metaphor for him, it’s a medium for composition solutions – and that’s the most interesting thing for him – as a human being and as an artist. “In my paintings I want to show in plain, simple, everyday things a much deeper thought that connects them with some sort of prehistoric law, the primal nature of things – the secret of being as a whole…”
Obrycki’s paintings are clear and simple at a first glance – one motive, often repeated in a cycle of paintings, one figure, peaceful landscape, only sometimes does the restless soul of the artist show itself in strokes of the brush or in the choice of colors. Obrycki eliminates without hesitation everything which is useless from a painting. Each scene limits itself to simple graphic design; it moves to clarify the meaning. That is what his works look like to the receivers of his art. But everything which is unpainted, all the fears and questions left without answers, are still in the painter. He shows us only what the canvas captured from his inner chaos. “I often wondered, and still do, is everything I see the same as I believe it to be. Or am I wrong about it. I am fascinated about putting my knowledge into doubt – and I do it with painting. I sometimes paint only to remind myself how little I know. During my work I come to think that I know nothing, that the only thing I know is the fact I exist. And then I feel as if born anew… I don’t know what the world is. I know nothing. It releases my lust for knowledge, for cognition. I feel I can pass through the “veil”, at all cost. That I will know. But this never happens. In the end there is always the painting and me, exhausted”. But he keeps on painting because through painting does he have the chance to name things from the beginning, he translates the world to his language, artistic language, and thanks to that he can experience it as constant vivid phenomena.
To close those painting experience revolving around one topic, Obrycki mostly creates cycles of paintings. He never does exhaust the motive, however. “It’s simply impossible” – he says and adds ironically, that, for example, in case of the sea “there are as many scenes showing it as many there are views upon it, and still never will one tell the truth about it, or the sea would drown with paintings”. Usually there are no limitations for him with the medium he uses: oil or acrylic paint, spray, ink or gouache. He paints on canvas, cardboard, he tried collage and graffiti. All the time he experiments, sometimes he limits collage to one kind of matter, that’s what happened with the “Hok” cycle, where he used pieces of cloth and leather (with “Bonke” cycle he used his own pair of jeans), that he glued to the canvas. And what was important was not the final effect – the sense of these forms was in the reason why they were created. It wasn’t important what he used but the fact that by using those materials he gave them a new meaning, quite different from the one they were given by somebody else. These paintings, as many more, aren’t a solution or the answer, but they all are a question that can be used to move forward…
Color is a formal problem with which Obrycki struggles. He often uses it in a very arbitrary way. Its symbol or origin doesn’t matter. The function of color limits itself to existence and being. The full of glory, magic existence of a nontransparent substance… (“If paint wouldn’t have a color, I feel I would use it nevertheless”). In the “Landscapes” cycle he used two colors to show the process of wave movement – one covering the other, so that the former layer could be seen from under the one over it. Here two stains of color create a painting motive and are a metaphor for a process of nature. In this moment painting is a way of describing the sense of the world, the reflection of the observer.
Sometimes the color is used as a solution to a problem – the space in the painting. This problem intrigues him from the very beginning. He thinks of space in a painting in a very flat way. As he says: “The painting remains a two dimensional event of covering a certain surface with paint”. While painting – he only suggests space. He builds it with color, shape, even the content of the painting, when it’s not important. While remaining in the domain of an unconscious gesture of the artist it turns into irrationally vivid, surprisingly real phenomena. “It’s as if with every stroke of a brush I were born anew”.
The artist very often uses every day-to-day motive. But this illusionary realism soon turns into abstraction. Shapes reduced to minimum, all the individual features removed, the color marked only with a stain or finally putting the object in a two-dimensional surface – it all causes that even a plain thing becomes a mystery. It appears suddenly, showing itself in sudden surprise. Reality is only a supposition in these paintings. What visualizes it, the raw substance of paint, its ability to imitate; it’s constructed on the level of two dimensions. While painting, he uses single forms – color stains move to show them rather than to create a description of a scene. The whole painting process reinterprets the two-dimensional arrangement of colors into colors of another type. Their role changes – because they form themselves and some other vision, for example a landscape.
Because of the fact that space exists during the painting process only arbitrary, it’s not important from the point of view of the painting motive. Only on the canvas does it gain new meaning, it changes. The starting point of every painting in a 3D-2D doctrine is not changing the shape of the motive painted, but only using them in a light manner. The world shown that way is a mystery of space, new connections between fragments of life taken from nature. We could compare this action to tearing up a landscape. Tearing and throwing it into space to reconstruct it. For example a church view consists of many paintings, that components of them add up to each other in the end to become one construction. “I paint as if I were blind. I don’t want to see what I have painted. The created space, once started, I repaint telling myself it didn’t exist. That type of work never ends, because the assumption is that there is no space. SO you can repaint the house fragments or nature endlessly, and they will be flat for me. But later – after putting away the brush – I see space. The space I moved away during painting. I wanted so. I wanted not to touch space consciously. I wanted it to be created on its own – as a side effect. How else can you start dreaming? We always give ourselves to unconsciousness when we fall asleep…”
There is no rest from trying because there is no way of answering. That, which doesn’t need further telling is our property – the property of seeing. That’s when Obrycki fades away and remains a mystery. How can you explain the reasons of creating works without knowing the private, and often hidden, intentions of the painter – while getting only the finished painting on a canvas? Obrycki says: “All the reality around us is already a metaphor. The painting will never be some kind of a reflection reaching out of the world, because it’s its immanent structure”.
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