PIERS FEETHAM GALLERY WŁADYSŁAW MIRECKI
NEW LANDSCAPE WATERCOLOURS 3 – 26 October 2019
WŁADYSŁAW MIRECKI Władysław Mirecki or Waj to his friends, was born to Polish parents in Chelmsford in 1956. He paints mostly Essex landscapes. In fact, he paints things that people who favour certain types of installation art probably wouldn't think of as cuttingedge. People who know the beauty of Essex and the wider East Anglian countryside, however, will recognise the quality of Mirecki's defiantly coherent work. It sells, of course.
Waj, a completely self-taught artist, has never not painted. When he says: “I never went to art school”, the statement carries an air of mystification, almost as if he were talking about a strange club in some distant city of which he'd heard, yet had never felt the urge to visit. Despite being regarded as 'good at art', instead he gained a science degree, later moving on to industrial design in London. Terribly unhappy there, after a while, whilst still in his twenties, he fled the metropolis in order to “take up the brush”. Returning to Essex in the 1980s, he became a labourer, laying tracks for the Chappel Railway Museum and settling down there to paint the landscape. For here were the rolling contours of the West Colne Valley. The place has everything a traditional English landscaper might desire: a winding river and acres of fecund farmland with tree-lined country lanes, all straddled by a stunning Victorian railway viaduct. For over three decades the artist has followed the changing seasons with the persistence of a particularly obsessive stalker. From the buttercupped spring meadows, into the deep green hollow-ways of summer woodland, he takes us back out, to the glacier-mint light of winter fields.
Oak in Winter
watercolour 122 x 122 cm
His landscapes are nearly all un-peopled. Waj will tell you that this is because the countryside nowadays is mostly empty. He wanted to paint his immediate locale and reckons it took him a decade before his work began to do the landscape justice. His paintings are realistic, although un-blighted by any sterile photographic quality.
The artist doesn't over-idealise his subjects. Where, for instance, a road encroaches upon one of his landscapes, he includes its markings and yellow lines. In years to come, such things will tell the viewer as much about the countryside in the early 21st century as a Constable painting does about the early 19th. The influences of John Constable and John Atkinson Grimshaw, remain present in Waj Mirecki's work, like two wardens patrolling a deserted country park. Of recent years, Waj has taken to occasional studies of urban or industrial sites. These places with their wire and concrete, sometimes take on a wildness of their own. They seem even more alien for providing within their structure the only evidence of the people who built them. In more recent years, the artist has painted on the coast: not only the pretty dunes and houseboats of coastal Suffolk, but Clacton, a rugged old Essex seaside resort perched on the fleece of the cold North Sea. WĹ‚adysĹ‚aw Mirecki's work frequently concerns itself with sites once used for work. It successfully conveys the eerie beauty of such places, long after their labourers have gone and nature has taken over. The great secret here, however, is that Mirecki's seemingly unpopulated paintings are nothing of the sort. Because you, the viewer, are always included in them. And the artist is standing right there beside you.
Martin Newell July 2019
Fallen Trees, Dooley's Field watercolour 76 x 55 cm
John Deere Tractor watercolour 60 x 89 cm
Under Clacton Pier watercolour 75 x 50 cm
The Bottom of My Garden watercolour 150 x 150 cm
Woodpile Beneath the Bridge watercolour 55 x 55 cm
watercolour 84 x 64 cm
Footpath to Flatford Mill 1Âž miles watercolour 60 x 60 cm
Greenwich Power Station watercolour 100 x 50 cm
Concrete and contrails watercolour 75 x 50 cm
Bull and Cow
watercolour 56 x 60 cm
View from an Upstairs Window watercolour 53 x 60 cm
Salisbury Cathedral, West Faรงade watercolour 122 x 92 cm
Barn Door X
watercolour 30 x 20 cm
Barn Door VIII
watercolour 30 x 20 cm
Early Autumn Chappel Viaduct watercolour 125 x 150 cm
Ditch and Trees watercolour 45 x 76 cm
Rue Courteline, PÃ©ret watercolour 74 x 40 cm
Rue Boileau, PÃ©ret watercolour 75 x 60 cm
watercolour 25 x 40
Dawn at Luxor
watercolour 40 x 104 cm
watercolour 40 x 87 cm
watercolour 50 x 75 cm
Lane Road, Wakes Colne watercolour 100 x 130 cm
watercolour 27 x 40 cm
watercolour 27 x 40 cm
Władysław Mirecki was born in Chelmsford, Essex in 1956 of Polish parentage. He is self-taught having painted all his life, including his periods gaining a science degree at Kingston Polytechnic (1975-78), working as an industrial designer and as co-proprietor of Chappel Galleries in Essex (1986–2019). As well as numerous one man exhibitions at Chappel Galleries (1990-2018) he has also had solo exhibitions at Foyles Art Gallery, London (1991), Jiangsu Provincial Art Gallery, Nanjing (1999), Duncan Campbell Fine Art, London (2010), Piers Feetham Gallery (2012 & 2015) and John Russell Gallery, Ipswich (2017). In 2013 he had a two man exhibition with Paul Rumsey at Chelmsford Borough Museum. Since 1988 he has exhibited regularly in mixed shows, including the Royal Watercolour Society, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Lynn PainterStainers at the Mall Galleries (1st prize winner in 2015) and in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition (2nd prize winner in 2010).
Recently his large watercolour 'Viaduct and Tank Traps', shown in the 2015 exhibition at the Piers Feetham Gallery, was acquired by the National Railway Museum, York for its permanent collection.
Sunset with Viaduct watercolour 25 x 40 cm