envoy enterprises presents Blissful Summit Days, Marcin Cienski’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition premieres a new body of oil paintings.
Enigmatic and psychologically charged, Marcin Cienski’s work is a captivating exchange between the past, the traditional painting spectrum from the 17th through the 19th century and the problems of today’s society. His paintings offer ominous and seductive imagery and solidified fragments from an indefinite, elusive time.
Refusing to bring across an overall meaning in his work, separately, each work insinuates, together they provide psychological tension and a wide range of interpretation. The artist's universe is made up from metaphors, a place where nothing goes without saying.
Through his eye for detail, Cienski achieves painterly perfection, but that ambition is rather ambiguous. While a photograph usually lies at the origin of each painting, the artist doesn’t blindly copy his source material. Shying away from logical associations, he focuses on certain elements and changes them to create a distance between reality and imagination.
‘Humid September’ seems to illustrate the artist’s sensitivity for the universal given of human tragedy. A falling comet interrupts a beautiful, quiet and peaceful day. The moment is frozen, but catastrophe is clearly imminent.
'Night Watch,' a small portrait of a little dog, looks like a blown up detail of an omitted element from the 17thcentury painting ‘The Night Watch.’ Maybe the dog was supposed to have been in that painting or maybe it references the actual task of the dog, to be the night watch.
Intellectually perverse in its tendency, ‘Goliath,’ a small oval portrait of a former lover, seems to reference paintings from the Pre-Raphaelites, The painting is flooded with light and air, while the subject's bloody nose seems to point to the portrait being that of a type rather than a personality.
Marcin Cienski’s paintings seem both near and far. Their details and games with space, their quotations of earlier artists and the way they embroil and distance the viewer, is extraordinarily complex.
Drawing on the old masters for structure and giving his contemporary subjects a new sense of the present, it is fascinating to view Cienski’s manipulation of the different registers of painting. Whether he is stressing the definition of painting as the arrangement of paint areas on canvas above its function as representation or whether he is paying homage to a more distant past or picking up on realism, he is continually enriching his art, developing his own synthesis of the past, future and the world around him.
Marcin Cienski (Poland, 1976) is a painter living and working in Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Fine Arts Academy in Krakow, Poland. Solo exhibitions include "Late Guests", Marc Straus Gallery, New York (2012), "Spaete Gaeste",Jochen Hempel Gallery, Leipzig, Germany (2012); "Chronic Insomnia", Marianne Friis Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark (2011); “Pensjonat” Galerie Römerapotheke, Zürich, Switzerland (2010); “Bad Air”, Gallery Geukens & DeVil, Antwerp, Belgium (2009); “Testing”, FRED [London] Ltd, London, United Kingdom (2008); “Paintings 2006 2007”, Galerie Binz & Krämer, Cologne, Germany (2007).
Group exhibitions include "Twilight Zone" group show at the Kunstverein Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany (2013); “Tierstücke“ - curated museum show of SØR Rusche Collection, Museum Abtei Liesborn, Germany (2013); "Strange Light", Erika Deak Gallery, Budapest, Hungary (2012); Finalist-Saatchi Gallery and Guardian competition /nomination by Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst, co-director of the Gagosian gallery, UK (2006).
Image: Humid September, 2014. Oil on canvas.
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