May Issue 2000
Coleman Fine Art in Charleston, SC, Features Plein-Air Paintings by Jan Pawlowski
Coleman Fine Art in downtown Charleston, SC, will present an exhibition of recent paintings by the plein-air impressionist Jan Pawlowski from May 12 through June 10. His distinctive style of impressionistic painting reflects the natural beauty of the Carolina Lowcountry and the charming lines of Historic Charleston's architecture. In both his landscapes and cityscapes, Pawlowski concentrates on the manifold effects of sunlight and shadow in each location.
By definition. "plein-air" painting is painting from life strictly on site. For Pawlowski's work to be true plein-air painting, all work must be executed on location, not in a studio. "En plein air" is French for "in the open air" (the Italian equivalent is "Alfresco") and it was the adopted mode of painting of the French Barbizon School. The Impressionists quickly took up the process as well, spurned by the development of easily portable painting equipment, including the creation of ready-made paints sold in tubes.
Pawlowski spent five weeks in Charleston and the surrounding area painting for the May exhibition. His daily painting schedule was unique in its dedication: each day he rose just before the sun, went to his first location, and proceeded to paint for about three hours until the sunlight altered the scene he was capturing. He would then move on to his next canvas in another location, working there until the colors and mood were again changed by the passing sun. He would retire to rest for the evening the minute after the sun had set for that day. By that week's end, Pawlowski would deliver three or more "wet" paintings to the gallery. By the end of his five week stay he had completed 17 canvases.
Born in Poland, Pawlowski moved to the United States in 1988 after what was intended to be merely a short vacation. He was awarded his "authorization and certification" by the Ministry of Arts and Culture in Warsaw in 1979, considered to be the ultimate achievement for Polish artists. He has settled in Nantucket, but chooses to travel to Charleston once a year to paint the unique marshes and architecture of the region. Although he does have favorite painting locations, such as Magnolia Gardens for their informal beauty, he went to Folly Beach, Mt. Pleasant and Rockville on this trip while also spending time in downtown Historic Charleston.
His choice of style and subject dictates that he must work quickly to capture the moment. Pawlowski's hand is evident in all his paintings due to the firm, confident use of his palate knife and brush. If he is not able to achieve the desired effect with these tools, he occasionally uses his fingers. Typical of the Impressionist style, Pawlowski uses a lighter, more brilliant palate than traditional landscape painters, and chooses complimentary colors instead of grays and blacks in shadows.
The seventeen canvases created for the show are currently on display informally at the gallery, although the artist himself will be present in the gallery at the official opening of the exhibition, Friday, May 12 from 6 - 8pm. The paintings range from delicate portraits of the first irises of spring to the Ashley River meandering through sunset-colored grasses in the marsh. The noon light is reflected sharply off buildings on Water Street, and the palms on Church Street lean in the breeze. A wedding party with horse and carriage passes the Mills House and shrimp boats dock at day's end at Oyster Point in Mt. Pleasant. Pawlowski believes strongly that only though nature can one bring truth to canvas.
For further information check our SC Commercial Gallery listings or call the gallery at 843/853-7000.
Mailing Address: Carolina Arts, P.O. Drawer
427, Bonneau, SC 29431
Telephone, Answering Machine and FAX: 843/825-3408
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