This week sees the opening of an exhibition of drawings and prints by the artist Andrzej Jackowski. I remember first encountering his work over 25 years ago when I was at art college.
He’s an artist that has followed his own path and stayed true to himself over those years. A decade ago I wrote an introduction to a website devoted to Jackowski’s work and thought I’d repost it here along with a selection of my favourite of his works. If you get a chance check out the new show at the Purdy Hicks Gallery. Andrzej’s work can be a ‘slow burn’, but I can testify from experience that time invested in appreciating pays dividends.
Introduction to Andrzej Jackowski’s website
In November 2000 I bought Andrzej Jackowski’s painting The Black Bride and in a certain respect completed a circle in my life.
I had followed Jackowski’s work, on and off, for the past 15 years. Introduced to his work by the educator, writer and artist Iain Biggs (a lecturer of mine) I became drawn to his paintings relatively slowly. At the time it was that period in the eighties when painting seemed to have returned centre stage and talk of the ‘School of London’ continued to capture a young student’s imagination. The international market saw the rise of the art superstars like Schnabel, Chia, Cucchi, Salle and Kieffer. While back in this country Le Brun and Oulton gave me a sense of the possibilities of commercial success for a younger generation.
But Jackowski seemed misplaced. Not quite ‘”Old School” of London’, yet identified as such in Alistair Hicks’s book of the same name; not a player in the new international art scene but neither, given his Polish roots, an ‘English’ artist either. Nor was he quite the rising star, despite being signed to the Marlborough Gallery - home of Le Brun, Oulton and much of the ‘London School’.
I’m certain now that it was the refusal of the work to fall into easy categories, as much as the quality of his canvases, which attracted me to Jackowski’s work.
Having completed my dissertation, in which Jackowski featured heavily, I moved on and have carved out a career in what has become known as the creative industries. My love of painting has rarely dwindled. The exhibitions I have visited and the catalogues I have collected have informed much of the work I have been involved with, none more so than the paintings of Jackowski. When my commercial work has limited me from developing an overly creative approach, Jackowski’s paintings have been a welcome respite from the sometimes clinical nature of digital media. When I have needed inspiration in my work the Jackowski catalogues have usually been my first port of call.
Then, during that summer of 2000, Iain Biggs informed me that Jackowski had produced some interesting prints that were relatively affordable, and maybe I would like to check them out. Having contacted his gallery, Purdy Hicks, I took a trip to the see the prints and a week later walked away with the painting The Black Bride, one of the first paintings of the artist’s I had ever seen, and one I have returned to as a catalogue illustration many times since I left college.
www.jackowski.co.uk has been created primarily for selfish reasons. I wanted a place where I could view as much of Andrzej’s work together as possible. But the beauty of the Internet is that it allows for sharing and I hope that others will find it interesting.
I have attempted to design this site to minimise it’s impact on the works themselves, after all this is about Andrzej’s work not mine *. The paintings available here provide an almost complete picture of Andrzej’s works since the early 1980s. (I know of at least three works that have been destroyed and I have been asked not to include them.) The list of drawings is less comprehensive and I would welcome any additions. Finally I hope that Andrzej and Purdy Hicks find the site useful.
* At the time the site was created these were pretty large images given the download speeds available.