Thom Trojanowski (1988, U.K.) was raised in the woody lands of middle England with his parents both working as ecologists. He received his master’s in Fine Arts from the Wimbledon College of Arts in 2015; but like the love of nature, the love of art runs deep in his family. Through his family’s interest in Polish fold design, the artist became acquainted with the formal grace and creative potential of organic forms from a young age. Through his parents, he became attuned to the ecological richness and complexity of the forest. Taken together, these become crucial ingredients in Trojanowski’s artistic endeavor to use art to reconnect with nature without any form of naive romanticism such as idyllic representations. In his new works, the artist achieves this by drawing inspiration from the Genk forest area he recently moved to.
The paintings of Trojanowski are populated by contorted human figures, morphing shapes of trees, moths, butterflies, and brightly colored orange suns that burn from clear blue skies. His color palette tends towards more saturated colors, but with a slightly darker hue that strips his images of any direct realism; his forms and composition bear the influence of German expressionism and the Polish arts and crafts movement alike. But what is striking in Trojanowski’s work, is that none of his canvasses are loud or exuberant. Quite to the contrary. In spite of their colors, size and expressiveness, all his paintings first and foremost convey a unique and eerie atmosphere, a deep sense of mystery. Looking at the scenes in his work, the viewer gets the impression that they are about to experience something unique - but what exactly will happen is left up to the imagination of the viewer. Trojanowski’s work revolves around his engagement with the natural world and his desire to reconceptualize how we engage with nature. The scenes he depicts entice the viewer to engage in that different conceptualization of nature, draw- ing upon one’s own desires and imagination to complete it.
That subtle magic and mildly sinister atmosphere of many of Trojanowski’s work is no coincidence. Trojanowski’s painterly praxis does not aim to provide the viewer with a simple answer about how we should or could relate to nature. Instead, plunging deep into his own imagination and drawing from his desire to reconnect with nature, the artist paints the contours of an imagined world that is open and uncanny enough to be complemented by the viewer and their own unique experience with nature. In his show for Everyday Gallery, Trojanowski has taken this suggestive, gestural and deliberately fragmentary approach to the depiction of nature a step further. Making good use of the space available to him, he uses the corridor that connects the two gallery rooms to create the suggestion of a forest. On both walls, a series of large tree paintings are on display. It almost feels as if you are walking through Trojanowski’s imagined forest. Facing the second room gallery we then see a canvas with a large sun, as if we are walking through the forest and toward the sun that chars and burns all that exists. The mildly apocalyptic vibe this brings us is indicative of Thom Trojanowski as a painter: hugely expressive, but never nostalgic, Trojanowski invites us to partake in a creative attempt to engage in new and unexpected ways with nature.
Text by Bram Ieven
Artists: Thom Trojanowski