Friday, November 02, 2007

Artist Feature 2: Michal Zaborowski

Welcome back! Join us this week as we look at yet another one of Zaborowski's well-loved pieces, Morning Fishing, currently on view through Nov. 11th in our H20 exhibition. Please stop by if you haven't already done so. As always, comments are welcome and greatly appreciated.

Morning Fishing, Oil on Canvas, 36'' x 63'', 2007


"Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light."

-- Jean Giraudoux

This painting resembles a [candid] photograph that might have been taken looking down from the docks, right before the break of dawn. It boasts a simplified, naturalistic color palate and an overall, flat and asymmetrical composition. A boy, no older than the age of 13, stands barefoot on the edge of his boat and peers down into the cool, crystalline waters - looking for the first signs of the day's catch.
The outside temperature is without a doubt warm, as indicated by the boy's attire. In one hand, he holds an empty glass jar of what appears to be bait. A fishing line is firmly grasped by his other hand, prepared for anything that might come his way. The look on his face is a quizzical one, as there is no sign of life in the waters at all. The positioning of his foot, the left one further on the edge than the right, indicates that something is about to happen, perhaps a foreshadowing of events to come?

Zaborowski's subdued palate and simplistic composition invites us to take a deeper look at this painting, rather than skimming it over as yet another "pretty picture" that sells for more than the normal asking price of works NKG offers. Although the subject matter is safe and it is obvious that the artist is classically trained (and excelled in this training), it is all too easy to miss the air of mystery that lingers in every one of his paintings. Unlike some of his other works, water is ever present and dominates a large portion of the canvas. The overall composition is cropped, and one can only surmise who/what might have been in the two boats on the upper right-hand side. The shadows are strong, and the positioning of the boy is also very alluring. What could his next action possibly be? To keep peering over the still, early morning waters, to take the plunge and jump into his catches' terrain OR possibly, (as the quote above suggests) to let the sadness that is weighing him down dissipate into the first breath of morning...

Whatever the case may be, it is evident that Zaborowski has once again excelled in the rendering of a simple subject which, in turn, can also be sublimely beautiful. In a world where we are bombarded by images thanks to the digital revolution, it is comforting to have a painting such as Morning Fishing remind us of the simple things in life; perhaps, even rejoice in the mystery of living as mortal beings!
As French Symbolist painter Émile Bernard so vividly puts it:

“Everything that is superfluous in a spectacle is covering it with reality and occupying our eyes instead of our mind. You have to simplify the spectacle in order to make some sense of it. You have, in a way, to draw its plan.”

Less is indeed, exceedingly MORE.

No comments: