Friday, January 04, 2008

Artist Feature 8: Krzystof Kokoryn

Welcome back! I hope your new years have gotten off to a brilliant start. This month, we are going “back to the basics” and I will be blogging about the art that helped launch NKG five years ago – Polish contemporary art.

Krzystof Kokoryn, Duet (2005) 31.5 x 39.5 oil on canvas

A few years ago, Polish artists such as Krzystof Kokoryn (b. 1964) were strangers to the DC art scene, but they quickly attracted attention. An image of Kokoryn’s large painting At the Swimming Pool, appeared on the front cover of DC North’s August 2003 edition, and several other Polish painters were featured in press articles about the gallery. Kokoryn’s intensely colorful paintings are sure to bring life into a dark and dreary day. Their warmth seems to be just the right thing to set your eyes on during these cold, short days of winter.

Kokoryn, a native of Warsaw, graduated from the city’s Academy of Fine Arts in 1992. Since then, he has had numerous solo exhibitions in Poland, the Netherlands and Slovakia. We featured his work in a two-artist exhibition at the Nevin Kelly Gallery called “Opposite Poles” in 2004 (which contrasted the contemporary style of Kokoryn against the classical style of Polish artist Michal Zaborowski). Like many great artists since the Renaissance, Kokoryn paints everyday scenes such as musicians playing a tune, lovers chatting in a cafe or friends gathering around the campfire. Kokoryn’s works reflect his bohemian lifestyle and remain authentic notwithstanding his international success. He’s the kind of guy you might like to call up to grab a few beers with at the local pub and simply chat the night away.

Krzysztof Kokoryn, Bar (2002)

The first thing that strikes me about Kokoryn’s paintings is his ability to successfully incorporate both linear and painterly qualities. Many times, his intuitive outlines of the main subject(s) help draw the spectator’s attention to the specific scene. By doing this, he renders his own vision of the events unfolding around those depicted in the painting. A sense of joie de vivre is expressed in every one of his works, from the man playing the trumpet to the nude sitting on her bed.

Comparable to the long, primitive figural styles of Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani, Kokoryn illustrates human activity, relationships and emotion to the greatest extent. His paintings are enticing and serve as a reminder for us to live our lives in the moment, truly embracing the joy to live and be alive.

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