Andrzej Stysiak - The Critique

Andrzej Stysiak is a very talented figurative painter. His unmistakable style is a melange between Impressionism, Expressionism, and at times, Surrealism.
At first glance the impulsive brushwork can seem spontaneous and impetuous but there is a control that brings together the jarring colours into a structured whole. Images of Childe Hassam’s later works and Oskar Kokoschka come to mind when lingering on the single strokes that build this unusual effect straddling Impressionism and Expressionism contemporarily.
 
Andrzej’s turbulent style, dynamic brushwork and expressiveness convey deep emotions. His restless energy is psychologically revealing. His subjects are seemingly engaged in everyday activities or common poses. They seem part of the whole, but paradoxically they don’t seem to fit in. The distorted faces have small mouths and large eyes and hands that are almost always stroking pets, that, for the most part, are as much protagonists of the canvases as the subjects themselves, or they are playing music. It seems obvious that Andrzej’s means of communicating with the viewer is not a traditionally intelligible one made of words or rational, straightforward concepts but it is instinctive, primal, visceral and unpredictable, like animals and music.
 
When looking at Andrzej’s paintings our eyes are captured by the eyes. But those eyes do not look directly at us, as if to let us sense their inner despondency or reticence to disclose their feelings to us. The only eyes that respond to our glances are the animal’s eyes that are reminiscent of Edward Hicks’ wide eyed animals. Through these much loved cats and dogs, be they filters, defences or guardians, we are able to connect to the subject and maybe to the artist’s subconscious mind.
 
“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language” says the philosopher of dialogue, Martin Buber. Andrzej Stysiak represents the Ich- Du/Ich-Es, inter and intra dialogue/monologue between beings, in the most intriguing and captivating of visual forms. His pictorial artwork is the mode of consciousness and interaction through which the viewer engages with the subject and with all reality in general.
 
Karen Lappon
International Confederation of Art Critics