By Małgorzata Czyńska
A realist painter - a young realist painter - that doesn't sound very interesting nowadays, does it? Tomasz Karabowicz paints what he sees; he has narrowed down his artistic exploration to two forms: portrait and still life. They bear the stamp of his own mode of perception, which produces interesting effects.
I suppose it is restricting myself, says the artist, but within this restricted area of mine I can set myself so many aims that there are enough of them to last a lifetime. My subjects - still life, portrait - are immemorial.
Karabowicz's sources of inspiration are clearly visible: art déco - the Vilna classics, Śleńdźiński, Łempicka, German painters of the Neue Sachlichkeit movement, and, as he himself declares, the spirit of the Renaissance, the spirit of all classicism, the spirit of idealistic movements, discovering order in nature. The models are not bad, and they have been transformed in a highly individual way, for Karabowicz is after all a modern artist: My pictures couldn't have come into being just anywhere. It's true that they come into being outside the mainstream. But that's because I chose it to be so.
The still lifes usually show transparent cut glass, smooth vases filled with water - pre-war ornaments. The portraits - young men and boys, shiny, smooth bodies with clearly marked muscles, sometimes just slightly suggestive, sometimes ostentatiously homosexual. Regardless of subject, Karabowicz paints dryly, synthetically, precisely. It is that severity that gives his paintings their characteristic aura of unease.
Cool interiors, alienated objects, people also alienated, suspended in the moment, abstracted from reality. The impression of strangeness in Karabowicz's paintings is intensified by the fact that his models sometimes resemble lifeless wax figures. Still life, portrait? Enough to leave you intrigued.