The monochrome is a recurring motif in Jurek Wybraniec’s work. Over three decades of practice, fields of colour—often in process blue, process yellow, and a specific birthday-cake shade of pink—manifest variously as textured paint, pegboard, laser-etched acrylic sheets, a custom-made inflatable.
In his new exhibition Pages, Studies, Notes, Wybraniec has pared his materials back to ink on paper: “Two areas,” he says, “that I haven’t explored before.” Embracing the mobility of this medium, the artist has followed strict parameters, selecting paper in standard A sizes. Placing an A4 sheet of paper on an A3, he “quickly floods the [smaller] sheet of paper with a fairly rough application” of ink, using the larger sheet as a blotter. This process is repeated, each time moving the smaller sheet around so that the larger paper gradually builds up layers of ink, with “areas of heavy application on the edge and lighter application in the middle.”
In contrast to the near-uniform field of colour on the smaller sheet, the larger sheet bears gestural “brush marks, drips and spatters” that reveal the qualities of the medium. Later collaged into different colour combinations, there is something diaristic about these works. “I see them as raw,” Wybraniec explains, “hence the title.” Also exhibited are remnants from the process: larger sheets of paper that served as drying surfaces for wet sheets, catching “remnant ink that collects on the edge of the paper, leaving lines, blobs and blots” in alluring polychromatic grids. This “anchors the work to the studio,” the artist says.
For this series, Wybraniec cites as influences still-life painter Giorgio Morandi and German film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. “Both of those managed to capture something else I was trying to look at,” he says, “which was a stillness: something held in place.”
This article was originally published in the May/June 2021 issue of Art Guide Australia.