"DeProfundis," 2005, oil and tar on canvas, 55" x 79". 

       From Galleries West Magazine:

RICHARD WLODARCZAK, "Faith and Reason," Sept 19 - Oct 22, 2005, Art Works Gallery, Vancouver

by Beverly Cramp

August 31, 2005 12:00 AM


          RICHARD WLODARCZAK, Faith and Reason

Art Works Gallery, Vancouver

Sept 19 - Oct 22, 2005

By Beverly Cramp

According to Carl Jung, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious,” and by Jung’s standard, Richard Wlodarczak is well on his way to becoming enlightened. His teachers at the University of Manitoba in 1994 and the Art Institute of Chicago in 1996 commented on his dark themes, a quality about which Wlodarczak is all too aware. “There is a somber darkness to my work,” he says, attributing it partly to the influence of seeing passion imagery and bible mythology at Catechism classes while growing up in Winnipeg. “But I’m trying to find a little bit of light in the darkness in my recent work.” His Faith and Reason show captures this battle. It isn’t about the difference between religion and science but rather, as Wlodarczak writes in his artistic statement, “...the internal battle: body and mind, flesh and spirit, male and female, light and dark.” Wlodarczak works primarily in oil on canvas. In the past few years, he has incorporated materials such as tar and rye for texture. “The rye is from my mother’s garden. It has a great sense of mystery and earthiness to it. There is something enigmatic about it,” Wlodarczak says, admitting that he is not completely clear about the motives and meanings behind his paintings. Instead he remains faithful to his pursuit of the art process, which he describes as modern in sensibility while retaining the mystery of the primeval.

Practical Art History or Confessions of a Fine Art Appraiser by Jim Finlay.

Finlay Fine Art Wealth Management.

Chapter 21. The Case of our Man in Havana.

Tantaene animis caelestibus irae? (Are there such violent passions in celestial minds?)

Last fall I was invited to an opening at The Havana Restaurant of new works by a local painter named

Richard Wlordarczak. The Havana, thankfully is continuing it’s tradition of offering an exhibition space

to established, as well as emerging artists and that commitment to the visual arts has enhanced the cultural

sophistication, vulnerability and diversity of fine art in the city.

Roma Invicta 1                          Richard Wlordarczak

The title of his show Roma Invicta (unconquerable Rome) alludes to the inevitability of militarilistic and

imperialistic expansion of empire necessary to create order and stability. Pax Romama. (Roman peace)

Richard Wloardczak is a history painter; he paints the indeterminate and unstable residue of disaster. His

work is visceral and unapologetic. He uses traditional as well as non-traditional materials such as tar and

stalks of rye, in concert to reference the present in terms of the past. The incongruity of media is made

more immediate by his use of a non-representational image making technique, which is devoted to

accident and unpredictability.

He intentionally destabilizes hierarchies of visual language to abandon them in a condition of

indeceidability and paints the remembrance of the ruin of destruction and catastrophe demanded by the

totality of military conflict. The ambiguities of truth, lies and ideologies struggle to coalesce in a context

of indeceidability as the viewer is forced to survive in a world without redemption or the heroic.( Much

the same way as a prisoner in G. B. Pirenasi’s Carceri series.)

The impact of catastrophe is overwhelming and absolute such that nothing appears to have been touched

as his images constitute a specifically traumatized understanding of the world which cannot be accessed

by those who did not experience the apocalypse. The viewer is subsumed by the inevitability of disaster,

which ruins everything all the while leaving everything intact. We are drawn to view and review his

images as necessary for processing the experience of trauma associated with the initial disaster. Even as

the act of reproduction dissipates the specificity upon which memory is based, by reproducing things we

ensure that they will not be forgotten. Thus the experience of the disaster is only truly experienced by its


He paints the latency of the experience of shock (without the awe) to force the viewer to process the

intensity of an otherwise unendurable experience. He demands that we do not forget and insists that

memory survive, to remind us of what has gone before.

Wlodarczak’s images announce the paradox of the archive as we will only know what is meant by the

archive in times to come as the past can only be recovered if it is experienced in terms of loss and ruin.

The archive reminds us that violence will persist as there can be no conflict without the archive.

When I think of Havana, (Our man in Havana.1959) I also think of other such exotic far away places as

Rio de Janerio (Flying Down to Rio.1933) and Brazil (Brazil.1985) as states of mind,