Ian Wieczorek at Marginalia, QSS Gallery Belfast, 4th September – 3rd october 2014

Ian Wieczorek, Double, 50 x 60cm, oil on canvas,2011, Photo Jordan Hutchings

Like a hunter gatherer, Wieczorek searches for images on the internet. The screen with someone else’s image is his inspiration and a source for a choice.  More than that – the final painting above is an exact replica of the image on the screen.  Quite a few knots to disentangle.

The appearance of the hand painted image is an identical twin of the digital version. At the  same time the source image becomes dislocated from the original intention and context. As the painted image is an original it is auratic, I hesitate to say how much more than its online inspiration.  Wieczorek does not necessarily prefer a narrative or a motif per se. There is something like alchemy involved in that his perception of the image on screen burns it into the intention as – not only a mover-  but also  as  a final composition, colours, tonality and meaning. Wieczorek tells of  accuracy in transferring the image from one medium into the other.  He transfers what he sees into the medium of painting, by numerous thin layers of brushtrokes and hues, even to the impression that the image is a trace on a light sensitive matrix. An illusion that there is a light behind the picture plane tells of the origin. It is also trompe l’oeil in that sense.

The image thus exists as a painting but its meaning stays in the liminal space between the digital technology and painting. Yet, it is not a footprint of the digital image. Is it its death mask? As it is hand made it is  a result of bodily impression via the brush and hues.  I am inclined to read it as a relic.  The hand places the paint  where the eye tells it.  The painting is a result of not a particular part of the body, like in a death mask, but of body in action: of seeing and comparing.  The person depicted in the Double cannot produce an image, Wieczorek can paint the relic of that person’s existence.


Ian Wieczorek, Autopyre 3, 2013, oil on canvas, 40 x 50 cm. Photo Jordan Hutchings

Accuracy of transfer as a dominant strategy in art  has a reputable tradition and pedigree connected with the idea of vera ikon -true image. During the Middle Ages the truth was identified with belief, hence the  true image of Christ became a popular subject for leading painters, like Hans Memling (1430 – 1494)

Memling Veronica

Hans Memling, St Veronica


The appearance matched the contemporaneous belief  and not any observed truth. Observed reality , flowers, plants, insect, appeared painted only in margins of a page of the manuscripts.

Books of Hours, peacock

However,  verism occurred much earlier, in Roman Sculpture, both on the triumphal arches and  in portraiture.

Veristic Male Portrait 1st C BC

Roman veristic portrait 1st C BC


Verism is defined (Chilvers,Osborne,Farr,page 517) as

an extreme form of realism, in which the artist makes it his aim to reproduce with rigid truthfulness the exact appearance of his subject and repudiates idealisation

Wieczorek’s transfer of a lens based trace on a screen onto canvas  involves disciplined refutation of any addition, imaginative detour or exalted brushstroke. The resulting image reproduces rigidly the exact appearance on the screen.  The genesis of the  image pulls verism into 21st C – not as a hesitant trial and error, but as a confident support of the aura associated with original paintings. Courageously, it declares itself a copy of a found image.






About Slavka Sverakova

writer on art
This entry was posted in essay and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Ian Wieczorek at Marginalia, QSS Gallery Belfast, 4th September – 3rd october 2014

  1. James King says:

    Thank you Slavka. Most interesting. James



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