Initial Research Part II: Wiśniewski, Maciejowski, Oberlander, Witkiewicz, Riches


A drawing technique that caught my attention – and I guess the compositional choices.

Composition-wise I was drawn to the deep dark background, and the figures that have been gathered in the central foreground – all of which are undefined, and almost blending with the tone of the land (what I mean by this is that the figures don’t have a distinguishing tone that would differentiate them from certain other elements of their surroundings).

Another significant aspect of the drawing is its rapidness – which very much links to the tonal choices made, because it is this rapidness of the lines that creates movement, and hence the figures’ position in the landscape is indeterminate.

The lines are rough and raw – flawed, but that only emphasises their authenticity and reflection of the moment lived – shows a real presence in that certain time and space.

What this means for my work is, again, an embracing of the raw and authentic, which indicates towards a lived moment – memories can be portrayed in the same way because we ‘see’ and experience them in the same way we would experience real life, in my opinion – after all they are an inherent part of our daily lives – they write themselves into the narrative of our daily activities and thoughts.

Just like our daily experiences and narratives they are: unclear, rapid and momentary – and to clarify by ‘unclear’ I mean that we experience so much during one 24 hour period that we don’t have time to be mindful of everything that happens, we only pick out the information that seems important or that stands out to us in some way – ATTENTION – our memory does the same thing.


The reason I was drawn to this artwork was precisely because of its application of paint, which is clear when we start paying attention to the brushstrokes.

They are mostly very light, leaving behind traces of the canvas’ texture.

But most importantly what this technique does is make the object fainter – almost ghostly like, without unnecessary detailing – everything has be simplified to its basic forms. They seem unrefined, perhaps despite the artist’s efforts – the painting can almost be looked at as a drawing done with paint. There is a sense of immediacy in it – no form is definite. Almost as if the artist froze time – before the painting could complete itself – to me it looks like the scene is in the process of creation.

The black and white paint also adds to the effect – there is a focus on form, rather than detail.

It’s interesting to observe what the technique does to the facial features of the man – especially the eyes – they can be perceived as hollow.

The overall composition is left quite blank actually – the minimalism as seen before in the works of Borcz seems to gain a different implication here – it very much relates to my previous point about the painting representing a scene which is being filled by the second.

What this could bring into my own work is the practice of NOT FINISHING a drawing and seeing what impact that has on the COMPOSITION and responses – also perhaps do the same thing for some MARKS, leave them as they are, as I put them on the page, let them exist untouched, representing a trace, that would be visibly marked by the texture of the paper – seeing a mark like that would take me (or the spactator) to the moment when the mark was made – this would contrast with the blended marks in the [now] background and [narrate, imply] the continuous and unresolved process that the drawing portrays and engages with.

So in short a CONTRAST between blended and rough marks – would show the cyclical process of creating and erasing of both the drawing process but also of the [thinking, recall] process.

See the source image

This artist really caught my attention at the gallery – and was perhaps one of my favourites [I’ve made some notes about his work in my sketchbook as well].

What drew me to this were three elements: the facial features, dark background and the impasto application of the oil paint.

I think what this all comes down to is the fact that the figure begins to be absorbed by its surroundings – the artist (even though there is a high contrast between the white of the shirt and the darkness of the background) blends the outlines of the figure, and the impast implies this physical integration – which is visible at the points where black and white paint share common brushstroke textures.

And again the hollow eyes!

For some reason I love the fact that the eye pupils cannot be seen – this places the figure as unidentifiable, looking into the distance, instead at the spectator – or in actual fact it remains a mystery what the figure is actually looking at. The eyes can easily be connected with the background, and perhaps clearly imply that connection –

but what does that mean?

Well, if I was to use this technique in my work – which is very very likely – it would act as a signifier for disappearing or dissolving – passing away – merging with the background would imply that the object is receding into the distance – although I feel like, here, the connotations for this are darker than my intentions – or it could mean the opposite – that the figure is just emerging from the darkness –

like thoughts that pop in and out of our consciousness.


Here I shall briefly talk about the interesting fragmentation of the face – how each mark that makes up the image is seen but is separated from the rest – FRAGMENTATION.

Quite opposite to what I had in mind for my work – where I want to blend in marks – but this gives a different perspective of how information can make up one consecutive and readable image.

There are still layers – as seen by the dark charcoal marks at the bottom – the layering is also particularly present in the eyes, where it conveys movement – because with each layer the marks of the eyes seem to move upwards.

See the source image

And then lastly, I have selected this artwork for its minimalism and continuous mark-making technique, which isolates the figure as a result.

I think since I have already spoken quite a bit about the minimalism I’ll just focus on the lines used here.

They imply movement and continuity.

What this could mean in terms of working with memory is that the fluid and continuous line allows to convey the loop that we find ourselves on when it comes to thoughts and thinking. The process of this mark-making allows time and space to think, contemplate and be more mindful of what comes our way.

This is a technique I could use to slow down a bit – to focus on some details – go over them as many times as I wish – the concentration of lines in some areas would imply that I went over the space on multiple occasions – in a way forming a recording of what was my most popular thought in terms of a specific memory.

The figure is floating – in the AMBIGUOUS SPACE.

In my own work I could perhaps add a bit of blending and layering?

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