About Wilek's Art

This review appeared in the Polish language, Toronto-based, High Park magazine, issue 12

The work under my hand becomes a work of art when it starts to speak to me in a language I didn't know before but which I understand.

William Markiewicz


by Ewa Chwojko

The fallen giant silently cries his defeat. Lost in sorrow, there is only him and his suffering. An undisturbed world. One more giant falls but his fall does not disturb the silence of the bouquet in the window, doesn't cover the green fence with its shadow. In the works of William Markiewicz -- known in Toronto art circles as 'Wilek' --- the drama of the giant fits naturally somewhere in between the peace of the courtyard seen through a flowering bush and the sleepy melancholy of the lady with the doll. Crumbs of existence caught in form and colour. Inimitable elements of some mysterious unity; impenetrable. Accessible only in small glimpses.

The studio corner with its blue chair and the age-old walls of Alicante, statuette from the Louvre, and streets of Barcelona. No unity of subject, no research for a style; the creator himself recognizes, "I don't try to find my style. I try not to impede the style from finding me." This humility, putting oneself in second place, is conveyed in all the works of Wilek. The artist doesn't struggle with matter. He doesn't have to. He knows how and at which moment "to draw back the curtain" in order to uncover what always existed on the other side.

"Creating, we are not lighting the lamp but following the light," he wrote. Looking at his work, we naturally follow the light with him, feeling a little bit surprised that nobody screams at us, nor pricks with the pin of irony, nor forces us to put up our defences, nor provokes an attack. Indeed, we have learned to expect this from today's creators. Wilek doesn't fight and doesn't attack. In his delicate pastels on the border between painting and drawing, there is no desire to shock. On the contrary - he seems to accept reality on its own terms, just as it comes to him. He reflects upon it, is amazed, but doesn't want to remake it. He even accepts sadness. The sadness radiates unintentionally from the eyes of the clown, from the impenetrable face of Beatrice, from the white/grey surface of the still life with paper sculpture and figurine. Why is it there? We don't know. Wilek says that he doesn't look for it at all. It's possible that sadness is simply an inseparable companion bestowed upon the one who has a mystical soul and a concrete spirit. This is how one of the artist's friends, a Jungian, described him, adding that it is not easy to live being such a composite creature. But one gains keys to worlds unattainable by others.

All the drawings gathered at Gallery Del Bello in Toronto have their model in so-called "real life," yet they are not faithful reflections of this reality. It is enriched by the artist's sudden amazement at the uniqueness of a face, singularity of a landscape. For one moment another dimension appears, to disappear in order to leave space for the next one. Those dimensions, captured by the hand of the creator, lay themselves into one image -- image of the artist's world where time stopped in the eternal present.

Comment in Guest Book at Wilek's show, "Mirrors, Windows ..." 1995

GatheringNovember 15, 1995 (3rd Viewing) To say that your pictures are imbued with shades of lyrical nihilism may be misguided by subjective interpretation on my part, a wonder-struck viewer who comes after the fact, but I am convinced that your visions speak of a truth which most humans would rather side-step than confront. Your pictures are realistic in the most profound sense of the word, for they reflect the real truth about this thing called life: isolation, lonelineness and death. And yet, at the same time, they speak of the mysterious importance of our concrete existences. Walking in and around your pictures, my feeling is that if the tonal qualities of the ideas of Nietzsche and Cioran can be captured through image, then you have marvelously succeeded in doing so through this metaphysical picture-windows that mirror the intensively creative core of your vital being. Wishing you much exaltation and torturous joy!


I don't print the signature because I never had the opportunity to contact him/her. The name isn't in the telephone book so, if the author happens to read these lines please unveil yourself. Get in touch. I'd love to know who wrote it. WM

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