I do not know if I can risk the statement that my style of painting follows a course that takes it from lyricism to a purely formal exercise, a course that involves many twists and turns, u-turns and loop backs. Even if some of my works are created almost spontaneously, then most of them take time and come into being painfully. Satisfaction comes much later. I do not think that I have developed a uniform style for my work but, on the other hand, I have never paid attention to creating such a style. Quite consciously and according to my needs, I use various methods and modes in my work: sometimes I juxtapose them or put them to test. This is exactly the game I play with my imagination, a game that is carried out on the surface of the painting which provides space and place for confrontation or clash of various means of expression. If there is any connection between my earlier art projects, my earlier paintings and the current ones, then it is my conviction about the authenticity of individual expression. It is from chaos and uncertainty that the first idea takes shape, often as a surprise to me. The emerging idea is then subject to methodical processing and touch up work until the truth of its message can be acknowledged, but its form may still undergo more reevaluations. However, despite so many reservations, I keep on believing that art is a justly chosen road that allows me to continue discovering beauty, truth, purpose. And I know that, despite gnawing doubts, I will go on painting, although the aim I endeavour to achieve seems to be an enigmatic pattern, impossible to attain.
Jacek Bukowski /2015/
The world Jacek Bukowski creates in his paintings is derived from shrewd observation of nature, genuine interest in life and mature reflection. It is the world of an artist, a theorist and teacher who writes and speaks about the intricacies of modern art and how it is experienced. Both in the works of art he creates and in his writings one finds honest opinions and a firm conviction that professional skill is the basis of artistic expression. While taking a panoramic view of the whole of Jacek Bukowski's artistic work, from the moment he obtained his diploma at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw till the present day, one notices a gradual departure from figurative presentation or maybe rather equipping it with more and more symbolic meanings. His diploma cycle entitled "Dehumanisations" /1976/ presents transformations of a still human figure into some undefined matter thus providing a form of expression for fusion of man with nature, all in umber and olive green tones. Next comes a series of paintings inspired by music, headed by Stanisław and Anna Oświęcimowie" /1977-1980/ whose tragic love story has been translated into a whole range of pink hues opposing the black. An impulse created by imagination has become a pretext for a pictorial game freed from the clear-cut nature of the subject. It seems that colour provokes the artist not so much through a harmony in complementary hues but rather their bold juxtaposition which may be hard, almost brutal, yet allowing the viewer to obtain satisfaction stemming from a kind of reconciliation. This can be seen in "Jointly Painted Pictures" /1978/ - in which emerald greens meet various shades of pink. It is also evident when red is contrasted with green /"Pictures in Red"/ and in "Moroccan Impressions" /2000 - 2002/ where blues wrestle with rust-coloured tones. In "Epitaphs to Cats" /1979/, smooth, matt black colour is invaded by simple forms and signs. These works are dedicated to the images of recollections and shreds of reality that can be extracted from the labyrinths of memory. And subsequently other titles appear that confirm such "extractions": "A Black and White Photograph"/1980/, "Litany" /1981 - 1983/, "Deficit" /1983/,"Photographs from Memory" /1988/. It seems that the same kind of a way of thinking is also present in the artist's later works. Naturally, what is meant here is the enormous cycle of paintings called "Paintings in Red" that was started in the 1980s, and is still continuing today. There is no doubt that it is an emotional settling of accounts with time. All hidden longing, suffering, unfulfilled dreams as well as moments of happiness write their coded diary, perversely imprisoned in red. "Maybe the Sea" /1992-1997/, "Nature vivante" /1994-1995/, "Men"/1996-1997/, "Ma" /1997-2002/, "The Gates of Time" /1999/ and "Playing Imagination" /1999/ all are an expression of an artistic statement presented on a rich scale of one colour that symbolizes profound emotion from love to hatred. "Paintings in Red" also constitutes an example of an application of a very laborious glazing technique in order to articulate the artist's unique lyricism combined with expression tinted with slight irony towards the pun in the title that points to an implied meaning, and even to a certain amount of the absurd. The paintings are enchanting in their lightness, they inspire our imagination and attract attention. In an art gallery, in front of "Paintings in Red" - writes Piotr Białek, an art critic - I realize that my first impression is that of a sound effect. I associate it with music that is full of suppressed passion, slightly melancholic, classical in its character and form. That music continues, it grows then sounds as if from afar but never dies down. Sometimes it seems to penetrate the depths of limitless space which, however, never turns into the void. We can sense its weight, its material character. More sounds rush out from that limitless space, they become clear and sharp again as if energized by a floodlight. The stage they create in our imagination becomes filled with organic and geometric shapes which conduct a non-verbal discourse, one of movement, close to the art of the dance. At the same time as "Paintings in Red", during his open air painting workshops in France, Jacek Bukowski creates drawings and paintings jointly entitled "La Mer - La Mére" ("The Sea - The Mother") /1994 -1995/ in which he seeks to express his emotions spontaneously, to attain a kind of reconciliation, to create a chance for simultaneity, to give voice to a discourse of fascinations. The colour scheme this time is dominated by a range of blues and yellows. In the cycle of "Maroccan Impressions" /2000 -2004/- painted on handmade paper and canvas - cobalt blues, that make one think both about vast expanses and a Berber attire, are contrasted with the rusty reds of the Atlas Mountains. The paintings are ascetic in form but stimulate imagination with the luminosity of colour and mysterious depth. The liveliness and courage of the brush do not interfere with the synthetic character of the composition but rather emphasize the predetermined strict discipline of the form. Anybody who has visited Morocco - writes Christe Ihelil - has no doubt whatsoever that Jacek Bukowski's paintings, bearing testimony to his travels to that part of the world, seem to be almost tangible pieces of the landscape in which the artist has been able to capture the spirit of its scenic beauty through the magic powers of his talent. In these works of art, the painter has rendered passion, depth, vibrations and stillness of the nature of the south with remarkable finesse. Each painting is a hymn of praise to the spiritual beauty of the Moroccan south where sensitivity, impulsive emotions and violence merge with gentleness, softness and humility towards the inevitability of fate. These paintings reflect a constant presence of the wind filled with rain under rough skies. Red...blue...blue... and red again. And the same repetitive movement, dreamy and slow. And the same light, intense and as if subdued at the same time. The same play of mysterious colourful shades in the harbour of Essaouira. A thrify usage of colour in Jacek Bukowski's almost monochromatic painting equips his medium size pictures with incredible power and may bring to mind a certain association with some drawings from travel notebooks by E. Delacroix because of their special atmosphere, or with H. Matisse's studies of light if one takes into consideration the impressionist character emanating from the presented works. The most recent pictures provide evidence of the return to sea themes - "The Sea" /2002-2007/. They feature blue touches, gentle waves lapping the shore but also an immersion in the boundless sea, in the uncontrollable power of the element. In the times of information overload, Jacek Bukowski creates his own subtle personal record of experiences for which his painting is an adequate medium: it is a record open to free interpretation - a condition for encounter.