Nicholas Szymanski’s work provides a variegated approach to painting. His work is both additive and subtractive, often times referencing found forms and colors, photography, and poetry as starting points. Through a mixture of the purely intentional and aleatory processes the pictorial elements of the work have the quality of being meditations on the passage of time, presence, and the seemingly mundane or meaningless. The paintings read in multifaceted ways. Investigations of scale, color, application, surface, light, interpretations of poetry and art history. The work is related to the trajectory of abstraction, minimalist art and laconic thought. The question of how one may work within an area of art using the same restrictions which have been stated and explored in the past is an undercurrent of the paintings. Within these limitations, is it possible to advance the conversation and relieve the work from its past?
The compositions, while maintaining an avoidance of narrative do investigate conceptual elements. The foundation of Szymanski’s interest and practice in painting is the idea of ‘purposelessness’. The artist views this as an experiential attitude arrived at through the process of making and viewing his work. The paintings are slowly developed over a duration of time without an end goal. Through this neglect of logical method and dismissal of linear structure the work becomes self-informed, intuitive and perceptual. The subject of the paintings is a quiet experiential engagement. This may be likened to the concept of ‘Aware’, a Japanese idea in which a viewer arrives at an awareness of the ephemeral beauty of a world essentially marked by change and an aversion to definition.
Each work is an individual event containing its own dynamic and sense of situation within a longer tradition of painting. The artist strives to avoid narrative within the confines of the picture plane. The paintings contain a range of feeling, through the investigation of the surface Szymanski arrives at compositions telling of a desire to observe the ineffable. The work drives toward a sensibility of the real before it is sliced up into conceptualism. A suggestion that painting may exist beyond the limits of language.