Introducing Jarek Puczel
Jarek Puczel is a Polish painter best known for his stripped down, yet emotionally charged, scenes and portraits. Puczel was born in Ketrzyn, Poland in 1965 and graduated from the University of Warsaw in 1990. He has showcased exhibits across Europe and the United States. His work has been used for book and album covers, along with movie and theatrical posters. With a discernible background in film and graphic design, Puczel’s work strikes a unique balance of subtlety and dramatics.
In Puczel’s work, absence does not mean lacking. His use of negative space illustrates the intangible parts of the human experience that are more deeply felt than seen. He explains, “I try to express something about sensing, not only through the conscious or rational part of us, but also through our collective unconscious.” Puczel leaves space for the viewer to fill with their own perception. By doing so, he is able to capture something as deep and fundamental as the human experience.
Wicked Game is a perfect example of Puczel’s use of negative space. A hole appears in the chest of the center figure while two others are posed playfully at their side. The viewer is left to decipher the scene and project their own experiences to fill the void of the hole – whether the figure is feeling taunted, isolated, or apathetic.
Puczel excels at making the basics feel personal. By keeping his subjects faceless, they take on an “intimate anonymity.” The viewer is able to relate their own experience without feeling like an intruder on someone else’s private moments. In Lovers (8), two figures merge into one for what looks like an intimate kiss. The most detail we get is a closed eye and semblance of leaning in. In this way, Puczel creates a sense of uncertainty that exists in the first stages of romance. The lack of detail in the other figure emphasizes the singularity of the experience, but also provides a detached sense of comfort for the viewer.
While much can be depicted with the human form, Puczel’s touches upon the relationship between people and their environment with his flat and abstracted backgrounds. In Mountain Lake, a quiet moment is shared between the subject and her surroundings. The landscape is done in Puczel’s typical reductive style while the subject’s textured hair and detailed clothing heightens the feeling of an interruption –a break in style, a visitor in untouched nature, and a witness to a private moment.
Puczel continues to explore human nature and how we relate to ourselves, others, and our environments from his studio in Olsztyn, Poland.