Mieczysław Szewczuk

Art of individuality


Mieczyslaw Knut /b. 1953 in Kartuzy/ studied at the Gdansk State Higher School of Visual Arts /SHSVA/. He graduated in 1977. Today, he lives in Warsaw. For many years, his paintings have been following roughly the same pattern of composition; differences between the consecutive works are reduced to the minimum making them and almost undistinguishable to the eye of an accidental viewer. However, these differences gain special significance and are essential to the author, whose creative influence is self-restricted to move within narrow confines. The artist’s style of painting, extremely appreciative of the means most subtle – perhaps more so than any other artist from this book’s lot – deliberately exposes the very structure of the canvass and builds a painting’s texture upon it whenever its surface is lit from a side. On a photographic image of a painting – nearly impossible to reproduce as it is – this structure seems as if it were a delicate draft.

In his earlier paintings, the painter used to contrast the structure of the canvas with the texture he laid on the canvas’ surface – now, it seems, he has abandoned that practice. The background surrounding the central figure of the composition protrudes in reference to it and colors glow from the deep layers of paint underlying transparent glazes; pink is – in fact – extracted out of brown, reflexes of light, afterimages interplay encouraging a viewer to come closer and examine the surface. His sensitivity towards the tinted pink, grey on the verge of light blue, body colors the painter owes to his time in the studio of his tutor at the Gdansk SHSVA – Wladyslaw Jackiewicz /whose depiction of bodily parts employs similar scale of colors/.

Although Mieczyslaw Knut’s art is commonly associated with the geometric abstraction, the deep source of it lies with the colorists of the “Sopot school” and their descendants. In her 2005 essay entitled “Sztuka ciszy i medytacji” /art of silence and meditation/ Bożena Kowalska wrote: “In his painting the factor of contemplative beauty has been imbued with the unpronounced metaphysics and sacrum /…/ Perhaps, it is /…/ the sacrum of the art itself.”