Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to present Jurek Wajdowicz: Every Exit is an Entrance, the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, on view online Monday 24 May through Friday 23 July 2021.
In his dual practice as a graphic designer and artist, Jurek Wajdowicz (b. 1951, Cracow, Poland) explores what, at first glance, are oppositions. On the one hand, in his work for international non-governmental institutions that are fighting for a safer, healthier, and more just world, the artist engages with sometimes disturbing images of poverty, famine, inequality, and violence, incorporating them into bold graphic designs. On the other hand, when he turns his focus to his personal photographic work, he creates more peaceful, contemplative images, which bring about an atmosphere of illumination, meditation, tranquility, and hope.
The complexity in this work has evolved from Wajdowicz’s own life experience. In the foreword to Wajdowicz’s book Liminal Spaces (Lars Müller Publishers, 2014), Fred Ritchin Dean Emeritus of the International Center of Photography (ICP) School, observes, “In an adjacent universe, Wajdowicz is one of our foremost designers in active pursuit of human rights…In his uncompromising photojournalistic collaborations, he has been to places gripped in the throes of conflict or strife. Embodied in his personal work is a response.”
Wajdowicz’s images are created through the lens, without computer enhancements, leaving the literal behind as color, light, and form that are carefully shaped to near or absolute abstraction. As a result, the viewer may experience a poem, a piece of music, or a vision, defined not only by what the artist reveals, but by what we ourselves discover in his work. Indeed, his works actively negotiate the space between photography and painting, as the intimacy and minimalism of each piece gives one the strong sense that the colors and shapes have been applied directly by the artist’s own hand.
Jurek Wajdowicz began his career as a graphic artist after receiving a Master of Arts degree from the Lodz Academy of Fine Arts. Since 1977, he has lived and worked in New York City. His visual design studio EWS (Emerson, Wajdowicz Studio), created in partnership with senior art director and principal Lisa LaRochelle, works with international humanitarian organizations and leading non-profit institutions around the world.
Wajdowicz’s work can be found in the collections of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg; the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts, Lausanne; the Poster Museum, Warsaw; the Modern Art Museum, Lodz; the Book Art Museum, Lodz; the United States Library of Congress, Washington, DC; the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, New York; the Arcus Foundation, New York; and the Rockefeller Foundation, New York, among other collections.