Tina Kim Gallery is very pleased to present Joanna M. Wezyk’s Night and Day in her second solo exhibition at the gallery. Based loosely on the popular story The Little Prince the exhibition includes candid yet playful portraits of the artist’s two sons (as well as other family members) in her signature painting style. Brushy with heavy glazing and a robust almost neo-classical palette, Wezyk’s paintings capture her young protagonists in moments of solitude and contemplation. Relatively modest in scale, the works on wood and linen allow for an intimate interlude with people who are in flux or just waiting. The artist’s presentation evokes turn of the century seances and the Victorian desire to communicate with the dead while at the same time showing a more innocent and banal transition from adolescence to adulthood. This paradox between creative imagination and grief mirrors the experience of the author of The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry whose own harrowing plane crash inspired the famous story.
For the artist, the nostalgia expressed in The Little Prince resonates with her own experience growing up in Poland and the longing for a lost place and time. Grappling with the imaginary bliss of childhood juxtaposed with the dangers and inevitable heart ache of growing up, Wezyk’s paintings depict an this almost mythic tension in the placid countenances of her subject and her deft handling of paint frames the fragility of time with an the emotional ephemerality. What remains is a tough but tender mediation on love, its power and the uncontrollable elements that define its borders. Recognizing her own mortality, Wezyk has confronted one of the most archetypal themes of art, how best to memorialize something that is fleeting.
Wezyk was born in 1966 in Krakow, Poland. She graduated from the Akademia Sztuk Pieknych in Krakow with her BFA in 1990 emigrated to the US later that year. In the spring of 2008 she received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and can be found in the permanent collections of the National Library of Congress in Washington DC, the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in New York, and the Muzeum Archidiecezjalne in Krakow.