Marian Kępiński   »

Contemporary art has various faces, some of them reveal ferocious fight for a place in the reality dominated by fast global transfer of information. Painting originating from tradition seems to lose the fight. Marginalized to the position of privacy it still plays an important role in finding out about the Man and his world.

Opposition to any evil, pain and suffering might bring an artist to negation of the present but also to search for any opportunity to keep balance and calm. As art, even if it expresses rebellion and uses destruction, derives from a desire to achieve fulfilment, to strive for perfection, longing for the ideal of beauty and life. Marian Kępiński's painting reflects such an attitude of finding sense of existence in artistic creation based on the principles of simplicity, moderation and harmony.

The artist is concerned with traditional painting: portrait, still life, landscape. Among those he is particularly keen on landscape as it opens for him various ways of expressing himself, his vision of the world and art. He locates it on the border of what is real and unreal, true and imaginary, objective and oneiric, literal and symbolic.

Fascinated by beauty of nature, amazed at its uniqueness and deliberateness, a variety of its forms, he observes in them the same order which predominates art - geometry, divisions and proportions, unchangeability and movement, stability and change. If Kępiński's paintings were deprived of depictive elements, and their composition, surface, point, line, colour were left, we would face pure geometry of arrangements of circles, triangles, quadrangles, regular figures on plans overlapping one another. The artist, however, does not resign from painting objects and the world, revealing his fascination for them and for the very process of creation.

Landscape is based on open illusory space or its fragment, clearly symmetrically divided into the upper and lower part, the centre, left and right side. Sometimes the artist depicts a given place, and the painting landscape reflects the real one. Artistic reflections refer then to the unique mood, particular lyrical climate or symbolic meanings associated with such a view.

The constant motives of Marian Kępiński's landscapes are: a mountain, a tree, a road, a meadow, a forest, a stone, a river, a sea, clouds, a moon, stars. Additionally buildings and objects: a house, a tower, a well, a ball, a polyhedron, a crystal. They emerge from a boundless space as if from limitless mysterious infinity, becoming a link between the known and unknown, terrestrial and cosmic. They are metaphors of human fate, solitude of human existence in the matter of life.

In paintings space is something more than a scheme of composition, its surrealist connotations point out that it refers to an imaginary vision, dream, subconsciousness, intuition as well as to objective experience. The repetitive theme of a well evokes direct associations with the profound hidden sources of unawareness which the artist tries to reach so that he could reveal from his psyche the truth about himself and about forming his creative visions. Wells are not only the reference to J. Malczewski but also an expression of experience which is not purifying. The limited power of art lightens the darkness of mind and heart only to some extent, and even more the close unknown abyss brings anxiety. Kępiński does not release anything dismaying, he only suggests its sinister potential, especially in fantastic landscapes where the architectural objects distinctly standing out in the surrounding emerge from the background and head for the light.

Nature, which Kępiński endows with cosmic dimension, is mainly to reflect the internal landscape, spiritual condition, creative search in his painting. Paintings emanate the characteristic unique atmosphere of indefinite nostalgia, metaphysical anxiety, fear of destruction. The enchanting world of nature becomes transitory (like flying balls, pyramids denying gravitation), temporary, illusively stabilised, impermanent, it might disappear and its harmonious order might change into chaos.

Kępiński's work is also original due to his perfect workshop of a realist. His care about the artistic effect reaches the highest level. His constant search for the most perfect form which lets us perceive the visible and imaginary brings his painting closer to the longed-for sensed ideal of beauty. Precision of line, appropriate relation of surface and objects, purity of colour, a variety of colour shades, light and contour modelling make the paintings really surprising as far as their artistic value is concerned. Individual stylistics is typical of all the works, including those made on paper. Gouaches, even if the artist assumes they are drafts for paintings, are complete finished small works. Some of them, after some necessary little changes, are transferred by Kępiński to a bigger format of canvas or a plate, painted with acrylic paints. Then landscape gets a different optics, and its space an open distance. Moreover symbols are univocally associated with the desire for freedom.

Free art, however, according to Marian Kępiński's painting, produces, establishes and strengthens values which are necessary for every human being, creates order fighting against destructive chaos.

Maria Kępińska
Łódź, September 2005