2013 by Rafal Topolewski
The International 3
The International 3’s stand at ART 13 was a welcome break. Bright and colourful, Topolewski’s paintings lined the walls of their cube, inviting us to step into the warmth of the sun reflected from the fronds of his palm trees. The paintings are large with huge over-blown compositions, the edge of their scenes cut off by the canvas. This almost abstracted effect serves to plunge us into the centre of the image; not quite realising where we are or what we are seeing, we recognise just enough to conjure up possibilities. Deep turquoise is evocative of brilliant skies and the ocean, while the hot and dry browns fade as dust and sand. We feel as one does on the first day in foreign climes, bleary eyed and blinking into the white light of a hot day. Topolewski paints these rays into his colours with glistening highlights that bristle his palms with life, contrasting with the dry heat of the flat colour in the background of the painting. Paint is precise in the falling fingers of the palms, while in the background it becomes bold, thin but intense, spreading either texture or colour.