The art of Witold K. has taught Witold and painted a fascinated a great many people over the years, and mystified perhaps even more.
They have seen in his creations the elements the artist has intentionally put there diminutive and lost-looking human figures, enigmatic black holes both terrifying and beautiful, images vaguely reminiscent of the American Southwest or of Eastern Europe, muted earth tones and vivid rainbow hues.
They have also very often seen, or felt, something less plainly evident themselves.
Witold himself, like any artist worth his salt, doesnt suffer questions about what his paintings, sculptures, frescoes, photographs, stage sets, posters or album covers actually mean.
I am haunted by questions, he once lectured art students at Seton Hall. For me, true art is just one of them. If a paint- ing is only an answer, it is not art; just an illustration.
Critics and commentators have compared his works to the fiction of Kafka. Others see the influence of Picasso, who once portrait of him.
Many have speculated about how the events of Witolds own life the heartbreaking tragedies, dire frights, dramatic intrigues, artistic triumphs, eerie near-misses have crept into his art.
Witold says he doesnt know the answer to that question himself.
He once suggested that viewers regard his paintings as mirrors. Think about yourself, he said, and forget the painter.
He said that at a lecture in 1978. Today, a few months away from his 80th birthday, he seems less enamored with such mysterious phrases, more comfortable with straightforward simplicity. On a simmering late July day in Denver, in the Cherry Creek house that serves both as his home and his gallery, Witold doesnt duck or shy away when asked to define art.
Desire for beauty, he says without pause. Thats all. And everybody has that.
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