Untitled , 2001, acrylic on board, 190 x 305 cm

Leon Tarasewicz »Paintings«

Berlin , November 18, 2001 - January 11, 2002

Leon Tarasewicz's paintings dominate the space with strong colours and clear graphic shapes - the paintings are in fact often executed directly on the wall, on the floor, or on free standing room elements. The colours range from earthy ochre and brown, poppy red and grassy green, to the high yellow and blue of an exotic bird.

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A deep relation to a rural landscape is to be detected in the light, the movement, and the texture. However, the artist is not to be seen as a landscape painter with nostalgic longings for nature.

On a second glance his abstract paintings reveal a healthy portion of influences from contemporary art and life. The striped canvases remind of city's rushing by the car window, of a flourishing Barnett Newman or of a flickering screen. Above all, it is all about painting. Leon Tarasewicz does not try to represent anything, the paintings are what they are and just as present in the room as the viewer self.

With his large-scale room and floor paintings he creates works that are environments, to be perceived by moving through. This is a strategy that emanates from the minimalists but Leon Tarasewicz crossbreeds it with the essence of painting - colour, light and texture - and puts us in a situation where the intellectual play with space is bombarded with the tactile and sensual experience of pure colours.

At Galerie Nordenhake, Leon Tarasewicz is showing a painting installation and a series of paintings. The painting installation consists of layers of board with thick paint in-between. A stair is built around the huge cube, to see the painting, the viewer has to climb up the stairs and peer down on the painting lying on top - apparently the last in enormous stack of paintings. The intense red pigment creates a halo around the work, but with its raw wood the installation does asserts its position, this is not about sacred abstract painting but about painting that is physically present in the room.

Leon Tarasewicz is born in 1957. 1979-1984 he studied at the Warsaw Academy for Fine Art under professor Tadeusz Dominik but returned to his native small town of Walily in the province of Bialystok in Poland where he still lives and works. He has made numerous international exhibitions since the mid-1980s and made his first exhibition with Galerie Nordenhake in 1986. This year he made a much-talked about painting installation in the Polish Pavilion for the Venice Biennial.

The exhibition is a collaboration with Springer & Winckler Galerie, Berlin, also since long associated with the artist, and offers a unique occasion to see paintings and painting installations by Leon Tarasewicz in Berlin.

Untitled , 2001, oil on board, 130x130 cm

Installation view

Installation view

Untitled, 2001, acrylic on board, 34 x 240 cm