An artist with a promising future

Michael Janowski - An Exhibition of Paintings is at The Frame Workshop and Gallery, 22 St Nicholas St, Ipswich until February 28.Michael Janowski's mixed media portraits resonate on a number of fronts.

Michael Janowski - An Exhibition of Paintings is at The Frame Workshop and Gallery, 22 St Nicholas St, Ipswich until February 28.

Michael Janowski's mixed media portraits resonate on a number of fronts. Janowski, currently completing a course in Fine Art at Suffolk College, was born in Poland but has lived in Ipswich for a number of years. His powerful paintings mix Polish and English influences; a sophisticated understanding of colour, form, and emotion.

Figures In A Landscape I, the largest painting in the show, is striking; a mass of loose faces, symbol, and pattern in which thick black outline resembles the lead of a stained glass window. Small areas of primary colour brighten and lift the painting, an interesting marriage of expressionism and graffiti, forming a detailed jigsaw.

Figures In Landscape II is much softer; its hues merging earthy multi-layered paints, its surface glistening and waxy. Three figures loom before you, their unearthly forms mixing media, floating between air and earth. Like the head portrait Katar the painting has a spiritual quality.

Janowski enjoys texture. In Petra, a moving, loose painting of a woman, the surface is scratched into, dotted, and dragged, adding depth and movement. Petra almost appears to be pulled down by the paint, moving towards the ground.

Three has a different impact. The poster-like image is dominated by an attractive male; his facial features painted in some detail. On his shoulder a frightening tiny top-hatted figure beats a drum. The painting mixes styles and influences, semi-abstraction and realism, and uses symbol to suggest its darkness. You are left wondering and slightly afraid. In contrast Ptasiek, a weirdly shaped form which appears part man, part cockerel, is amusing in its underlying menace.

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Not all the works in the exhibition attracted me, but the majority of Janowski's paintings are strong and suggest he has a good future. It's very interesting work. I wish him luck.

Sonia Carvill

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