A Closer Look at Nikos Rutkowski

Erika b Hess,  Daina Higgins, Dion Johnson, Jignesh Panchal, Nikos Fyodor Rutkowski

End of Summer

September 3rd – October 30th, 2020

Nikos Rutkowski | Everything Counts | 2020 | Acrylic, collaged clothing patterns on canvas | 48 x 48 inches

Nikos Fyodor Rutkowski is represented in this exhibition with a new group of paintings made in the Spring and Summer of 2020. Rutkowski has expanded his Cubist inspired practice of painting with collage. Prior to these works, the sewing patterns provided form and content, which combined with bold colors made for his own style of urban abstraction. Here, the artist uses that approach to address head on the questions of the day with much more narrative paintings.

Rutkowski’s body of work featured in End of Summer reflects his response to the Covid pandemic and the political and racial strife of this critical election year. Everything Counts is a large still life painting with fruit, abstracted lobster and candle in the middle. The bottom of the painting has collaged glove sewing patterns that offer a nod to the ‘hands up’ motion as seen in the Black Life Matters protests around the world. Like traditional still life painting, Rutkowski gives us more than images representing a pleasurable meal, they offer a mediation on our time and humanity.

Nikos Rutkowski | Comments Section | 2020 | Acrylic, collaged clothing patterns on canvas | 49 1/2 × 41 1/4

Nikos Rutkowski | Stuck In Our Heads, 2020 | Acrylic and sewing patterns on panel | 49 x 41 inches

Stuck in our Heads is a painting with layers of masks. As the title suggests, we have felt heightened anxieties in these days with so much commotion. Here the figure has masks within the large head of dark and light, and with obvious science-fiction influences. The title of Comments Section refers to the combative rhetoric on social media, which is even more prominent during an election year.

Rutkowski uses sewing patterns as a guide and method for investigating the relationship between color and shape. His practice has always been about discovering and exploring layers of color. Works such as Missed Connections, Roll the Dice and Lost and Found ‘ bounce back and forth from abstraction to representational. He connects to ideas and styles from early Modernism to Tribal art, creating his own bold language.

Missed Connections 2020  | Roll the Dice 2020  | Lost and Found 2020