Michalski brings a European tradition of fine painting of interiors and figures pensive and arrested, within urbanised spaces. His highly articulate multi story windows tell stories of individual lives often portrayed in thoughtful, soulful and reflective scenarios. The great strength of his works lies in the balance of spaces and his superb crafting of colours that provide boundaries and framing for these intimate works.
Trained in the Polish academic tradition, Jerzy has been living and painting in Tasmania for the last 21 years, a very different world from the Europe he left behind.
He is a master of perspective and atmospheric light, of form and colour; his paintings address themes based on memory and reflection of the past.
Jerzy has had a varied work life. Originally trained as a Forester, but always wanting to draw and paint. After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts, now the University of Arts in Poznań, Poland, he not only became a lecturer, and then Professor there, but also spent time restoring Baroque churches.
Often he would be working from high scaffolds, where he had the opportunity not only to observe uncommon perspective, but also the interaction of light, colour, space and form in an architectural setting as well as participate in the restoration. His Baroque and Rococo gilding restoration skills now find expression in his gold and silver panels and frame edges.
Drawing on his training and profession as an artist in Poland, Jerzy has created a first class reputation in both Europe and Australia. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in France, Belgium, Poland and Germany as well as in leading Australian galleries.
During his student days life Jerzy was influenced by ‘High Pop Art’ and Avant-garde European and Russian films, the ‘New Wave’ movies of the 1960s & 70s; all of which were full of hidden meanings.
Jerzy has inherited much from these European and Russian filmmakers and from surrealist painters he admires. A taste for mystery and a belief that the art work should not simply represent the external world but should also suggest states of mind.
He considers himself a passenger on the train of life which has literally and figuratively gone to many places and allowed many experiences.
This exhibition is a pivotal one as it depicts the result of his move from mood filled cityscapes and empty interiors influenced by the political history of and growing up in Poland, post the Second World War, to more intimate personal interiors, but still choosing to let the viewer interpret the painting’s several meanings according to their own personal experiences.
Since 2008 his palate has expanded with lighter colours due to a new ‘Joie de vivre’ and the gradual infusion of the Tasmanian landscape colours, the sky, sea-scapes, and bush; all allowing him to started leaving behind the earlier European melancholy.
It also represents a departure from his earlier cold metropolis – to the warmer interiors, with people occupying them, their mood reflected by the background colour, they are then combined onto a story board with grace and beauty without giving any of the relationships or stories away.
The technique of combining ‘windows’, with or without people who originally had no relationship with each other, implies stories with relationships. They are like a film director’s story-board with the result being very much like a Peter Greenaway movie: stories within a story.
Tony Brown 2014