Counterpoint of Professor Roman Nowotarski
Watch a documentary about Professor Roman Nowotarski
Industrial landscapes, vedutas, alleyways, doorways, windows and backyards are elements of the syntax which the artist uses to build a story of his experience as a refugee – at 8, he was displaced together with his family from their home in Worochota (South-Western Ukraine) after the outbreak of the Second World War.
Silesia, and especially his studio on the top floor of a Zabrze block of flats, have become the artist’s place of permanent residence, a safe harbour. Still, his art shows subtle symptoms of the nomad experience. A curiosity of the world, odd nostalgia, and first of all the urge to keep the stills of the ever-changing views.
The homogenous, almost monochromatic colour palette in warm ochres or whitewashed, cold greys can be seen as a remnant of the painter’s former fascination with cubism.
Filling the paintings with side shadows and impastos rubbed from the centre are a deliberate reference to icon painting, which in Nowotarski’s youth inspired a lot of Polish painters, including Jerzy Nowosielski and Tadeusz Brzozowski.
The latter held the works of his Silesian colleague in high esteem, expressing his opinion in writing: “This art has always drawn me like a magnet. The obsessive vision of a landscape deprived of people, the landscape of working-class quarters of an industrial town from the 19th century, sunk in dense, nostalgic colours and frameworked with nearly geometric outlines, is truly personal. The form used by Nowotarski are of such quality that his vision moves the viewer deeply and encourages reflection touching on the existential aspect of life. His art is incredibly poetic.”
Text: dr hab. Jolanta Jastrząb, dr hab. Irma Kozina
Film: Maciej Zborek
The documentary can be viewed here.