Jowita Wyszomirska: Flutter reviewed by Xavier McNellage

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Never-endings, non arrivals #1 (2013),  detail

The work of polish-born artist Jowita Wyszomirska is currently on view at the Pinebox Art Center off of N. Haven Street in East Baltimore. The exhibition, “Flutter” includes six pieces from 2012 and 2013. The artist uses gouache, paint, graphite, and pencil on paper in unison to create complex and colorful compositions that are displayed chronologically, in the order of their creation. Wyszomirska received her BFA in painting in 2003 from Illinois State University and has shown extensively both in the states and abroad.

Coil1_55x35Untitled (Coil 3)

The majority of Wyszomirska’s work in this exhibition is playful and lively, created with an accumulation of simple, repeated shapes. By utilizing a potent combination of gouache shapes and delicate line work, her pieces add up to a compelling visual experience. The ovals that Jowita puts to use in all of the work shown are so numerous that the viewer’s attention is focused on the gestalt of each drawing rather than detail. When the viewer does decide to approach the drawings close up, they are treated to an environment with as much, if not more, complexity that the overall piece. Consider “Untitled (Coil 3),” wherein the numerous oval shapes give rise to form. When this drawing is approached for closer view, the line work, seemingly on top of the color, is incredibly detailed to say the least.

Although the color choices in “Untitled (Coil 3)” immediately grab your attention, it is Wyszomirska’s more recent works that steal the show. “Never-ending, non arrivals” parts 1 and 2 stretch across the entirety two separate accent walls, near and across from the entrance. “Never-endings, non-arrivals 1” is a significant breakthrough from the other work: Wyszomirska leaves subtle color relationships behind in favor of black and white, and breaks into the third dimension, layering cut paper shapes of her familiar ovals and pinning them in conjunction with the gouache, pen, and graphite of previous works. This is by far the most rewarding work in the exhibition, not only for the amount of growth exhibited by the artist but also in the intellectual ground it allows us to examine. While many of her earlier compositions are arbitrarily cropped at the borders when they seem as though they should continue, it is only in Never-endings that the edge of the piece determined by a purposeful decision, and these works feel much more complete as a result.



Such a notable division between the “Non-ending, non arrivals” and the rest of the show creates an uncomfortable duality in “Flutter.” You can’t help but compare the more formal, colorful works with those devoid of color and see the former as an exercise for the latter. Although this may be distracting for some, this duality gives the viewer a chance to examine the artist’s growth in their studio, and to view the gallery as a reflective space, an opportunity for artists to consider their future growth. In contrast, exhibiting a range of work that speaks to precisely the same idea rather that offering an innovative approach to that idea is redundant.

While it seems appropriate to show work in a gallery that is not cohesive in series with one another, in “Flutter” the focus of the show as a whole is split. A chronological, “studio-progress” approach to exhibitions does allow for a four dimensional view of a concept as the artist works through it, but if this same idea can be relayed to its audience by one piece of artwork, or by a simpler means, then it should be presented as such. Wyszomirska’s work is compelling on a number of levels, but, in this case, a retrospective approach would be better suited to an artist who is no longer contemporary.

Flutter is on view at Pinebox Art Center through May 25.

Author Xavier McNellage is a 2012 MICA graduate and a Baltimore based painter and sculptor.

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