Introduction to Painting

In the early 1980s Bakowski decided to take his experience in photography into the realm of painting. In the work “Triangle, Square, Circle” from 1983, the artist combined his earlier principle of composition based on mathematical schemes with reflections on color and the issue of its perception. Much like the photographic prints, the canvas surface was divided into a grid of squares which was then filled with the following colors: blue, yellow, red and green, according to a previously defined order. The colors were ascribed to three basic geometrical figures: square, circle, and triangle, which made up the composition of the painting. Experience related to text, gained by the artist on occasion of the photographic works “Square” and “Line”, was later used in such paintings as “Spheres” of 1985, “Perpetuum Mobile” of 1986, and “Self-Portrait” made between 1986 and 1987. In the former two works a written caption explained the origin and method of arriving at the final image, while in the case of “Self-Portrait” the text was a complementary autobiographical note. Bakowski also extended his research on color by coming up with his own typeface where each letter was ascribed to a different hue. The painting “Spheres” employed the “rainbow sequence of color”, meaning various wavelengths, which made it possible to “arrive at a colorful alphabet starting from the shortest violet wave for the first letter of the sequence AĄBCĆDEĘFGHIJLKLMNOPRSŚTUVWXYZZ and ending with the longest red wave for the letter Ż”. A similar method was at work in the painting “Perpetuum Mobile”, the difference being the slightly less vivid colors that contrasted with the deep black background, while in the case of the “Self-Portrait” the letters of the alphabet were ascribed to various hues of gray, “A” being most pale.
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