By Marcin Różyc
Tomasz looks for male models delighting with their innocence. He gets attracted by faces of youths free of anxieties of the mature age. Their innocence is at times emphasised by the artists by transparent glass objects set at the background. He would compare his half-naked characters to blooming flowers due to wilt soon. They are really, albeit ephemerally, powerful.
Studies on the male body are associated with desire. In his Nude in an interior, being Tomasz’s graduation work, an amorous tiredness can be seen. The painter has so rendered the moment of sexual exhaustion. It seems that there has been an intercourse between him and the model. His other paintings show idealised portraits of boys whose mouths are pink and eyes blue. They trigger lust and simultaneously, fear, as their fleeting beauty may get destroyed. But there is a coldness to it, preventing a meeting.
For Tomek, the characteristic thing is an opposition of the spiritual versus the carnal. His paintings often show a mirrored reflection different from the model. This is a duality of the human nature. There is an internal conflict and a conflict between the lovers. A tragedy of impossibility of merging a bodily and a spiritual ideal. The mirror draws your attention to secrets, to the other side of the reality. Maybe it is a secret residing in humans internally, or perhaps it is a secret of love between two males.
Karabowicz’s nudes are a narcissist fulfilment. In the youths’ bodies, the artist can see his own beauty. In his fascination with another man’s body, he finds satisfaction of his desire to arrive back at his boyish innocence. Through marvelling at others, he marvels at himself.
The artist would own up to several sources of inspiration. His output becomes part of a tradition of searching for an ideal within the male body, which has been lasting from the antiquity. As delicate as they can be, men tend to assume the characteristics that culture has superimposed on females.
Also appearing upon Tomasz’s works is the ‘feminisation’ of male nude, so characteristic with homosexual painters. A mannerist artificiality may evoke associations with portraits by Bronzino. Half-naked youths appear to have a power and subtlety combined, as known to us from Caravaggio’s paintings, at least. Males painted against cold-blue backgrounds are remindful of David Hockney’s Californian boys’ naked bodies. In his Californian lover, full of homosexual tense, the Polish artist reveals his fascination with that 20th-century gay art classic.
One of the secrets about Mr. Karabowicz’s nudes is a homoeroticism that is not disambiguated yet certainly present there. Some anxiety can be sensed there, associated with men’s secrets. Perhaps it is a secret of body, or a metaphysical mystery.
These paintings can, but do not have to, be homosexual. This is but one of the possible ways to interpret them.