November 24 - February 15, 2017
opening reception November 24 6 – 9 pm
The exhibition Second Thoughts presents 13 paintings that Luka Rayski created in parallel with his wide production of posters for theatre or demonstrations and illustrations for the press. The artist likes to use "junk" materials such as polypropylene, cardboard and HDF-board as supports for his works because of their synthetic lightness combined with its incredible toughness. The irregular appearance of ordinary hand-cut plastic sheets plays with the rough aesthetics of Rayski's work, which although remains anchored in visual painting's tradition.
The title of the exhibition relates to the representation of states of uncertainty, depicting feelings of being internally torn apart, consumed by the desire to escape the grip of temporality as in a cause-and-effect chain. The paintings show a multitude of entangled layers deriving from different orders and realities: characters' silhouettes, in profile faces interweaved with abstract patterns recalling steps, arrows giving the composition a particular vector. A symbolic representation of the body, focusing in particular on the depiction of the hand or the head, collides on the same surface with another image of an object or body, with a specific colour or shape, or arrows pointing to a certain direction indicating a movement. Multiplying the images makes the painting vibrate, letting the viewer shifting from one layer to another, in a way that it does not allow one to explicitly choose where to stop.
In the history of art, there is a specific terminology and tradition of overlapping layers – for example in video editing, Werner Nekes proposed to call it "vertical cut"– in the case of Rayski's work, the result is strongly connected with the artist's graphic culture and the tradition of Polish artists working with screen printing technique. The visual superposition of several layers might be reminiscent of silkscreen matrices, but Rayski's work still emphasizes its very nature as painting with its particular perception of colour and texture, especially when he uses a fine diluted, unevenly distributed paint on a semi-translucent plastic surface. Rayski's work strongly refers not only to the Polish tradition of graphic arts, but also to the American painting, in particular to the expressive gesture established through the abstract expressionism, such as in the work of Willem de Kooning, and to the aesthetics of pop art and graffiti (like in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s or Keith Haring’s art).
The translated English title loses much of its charm since neither the word "scruples" nor any other can properly indicate the hesitation that expresses the desire to go back to the moment that no longer is. "Scruples" is a Latin word and means as much as a sharp pebble in a shoe that could be annoying. Yet, the expression Second Thoughts perfectly captures a struggle with oneself, with temptations or regrets. The title Second Thoughts refers to an impossible and dangerous desire to undermine the temporal sequentiality due to a feeling of being misplaced or to what Nietzsche calls "untimeliness".
Copyright © Galeria Szydłowski 2017