Artist of the Week - Robert Proch
Recently, a colleague of mine had the opportunity to interview an artist that she referred to as the prodigy of the Polish art scene. This prolific creative is now given the title of Widewalls’ Artist of the Week, so let’s take this chance to see how his art lives up to all the expectations. Trying to put the art of Robert Proch in a category seems much harder than simply contemplating his complex works. Most of his seemingly chaotic paintings are regarded as artworks characteristic for Urban Art while some would prefer to put his fragmented pictures into the category of Fine Art. As it often happens with painters who operate within the vague constraints of the contemporary world, this labeling doesn’t quite suit them. It is, therefore, better to try to explain his works by using words and terms that are more descriptive and, therefore, insightful, rather than academic or institutional. Expressive, colorful, intricate, dynamic – the description could begin with any of these words. Whether depicting animated situations or seemingly static occurrences, Proch’s paintings never lack energy. That is probably why you will often hear the word “animation” when listening to stories about his art. That, and the fact that it is the name of the discipline that he was educated for, at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan. Naturally, this means that he makes fantastic visual animations as well.
Creative Chaos and Computerized Aesthetics
In case you’re familiar with the 3D modeling environment, the interface, the rendering, etc., it is possible that you will find a multitude of fine connections between Proch’s paintings and the aesthetics of 3D models and animations. And even if you’re a dilettante in that field – it isn’t hard to guess where the inspiration comes from (and as we have already mentioned, studying animation is how it all began). However, since the artist works with analog techniques, it lets him create a special kind of a creative chaos, one which is much harder to create using computer programs. But still, this creative mess is complex, rather than complicated, meaning that one can still find some kind of figuration or a pattern in all the chaos – even if the pattern is based on arbitrariness. Once you realize that these paintings are made without any preparation and that the artist never uses photographs or other “helpers” to make them, you will be even more fascinated by the aesthetics of these works. The fact that the artist has kind of “given up” using photographs is the very best thing that happened to his creative process, since he claims that painting has become twice as exciting.
Crossing the Line
Just when you think that Proch’s works rely on a special form of abstraction, you come to realize that they could actually be closer to realism. Then, on the other hand, his visual language often mimics the beauty of the digital worlds, but it could also be perceived as an intricate interpretation of the nature that surrounds us, and defines us. These are just two of all the possible examples of the way that Proch’s art is constantly pushing the boundaries, or in other words, crossing the line. Indoors, outdoors, painted or animated – all of his works offer a unique picture of Proch’s free spirit. One of the most interesting young visual artists from Poland will be coming to Rome’s Wunderkammern soon, and this will also be his first time to exhibit in Italy. The title of the exhibition is Crossing the Line, and it will be on display from April 16th through June 11th, 2016.
Featured images in the main slider: Robert Proch, portrait via soon-editions. Other images: Robert Proch – Wrong Channel, 2012 (detail); Robert Proch – Re-Dawn II, 2015 (detail); Robert Proch – Entering Babel, Saint Gervais, France 2015; Robert Proch – Dance With Uncle Sam, Richmond, USA, 2014; Robert Proch – Bipolar Citizen, 2015; Robert Proch – Long gone tattoos, 2016 (detail). All images used for illustrative purposes only.