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Wlodzimierz Ksiazek

While he strives to combine the physical and the psychological in his art, the Polish-born artist Wlodzimierz Ksiazek is reluctant to associate his work with an East or Central European temperament, or a specific “human condition.” The influences that critics often cite when discussing his art are literary rather than pictorial—such as Franz Kafka’s paranoid, claustrophobic depictions of existence in a totalitarian state. Ksiazek neutralizes these associations by making no visible references to his Polish upbringing, and by celebrating the power and pleasure of painting in itself.

In the eleven untitled paintings in his recent exhibition (all were oil on wood or canvas, except for one work in encaustic), Ksiazek seldom used pure colors, but rather he mixed them until they assumed an organic quality more suggestive of decay than growth. He covered some works uniformly with paint, then

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