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Future Tense by Roger Rapp, Woodstock Times, September 1981
A review of Slowinski's first solo show at the Night Gallery in Woodstock, NY

card1.jpg (23796 bytes) Invitation from the exhibition

Future tense

In Tim Slowinski's dark and distressing oil, The Visitor, a dire group of women and children arranged around a dinner-laden table, are portrayed in gloomy umbers and deep, portentous reds. They confront the viewer with vacant, death's head stares. Cold white light leaks out of holes where their eyes ought to be.

The unnerving painting is hung high on one wall of the Night Gallery where it would have dominated the young artist's claustrophobic exhibit were his other paintings less discombobulating. Life-and art-is not all beer-and-skittles.

The Visitor shares the intimate gallery space with ten other bizzare paintings under the collective heading, Humans. In the newer oils, short, fuzzy, vibrating brown brushstrokes depicting clothing or foliage underscore human features painted in the dissonant hues of a splintered palette. Anguished and tormented faces, hideously fragmented into patterns of feverish oranges and cyanic oxygen-starved blues, are grotesquely contorted. The vivid colors heighten the intense and restless expressive emotionality of these flayed souls. Each image emits a soundless scream. Everyone is a suffering spirit trapped in the chaos of the Cosmic Joke. Slowinski is not your typical romantic; there is little evidence of a universal order.

Such malediction can only be an art of protest. "The intensity, fragmentation, and chaotic bizzarity of this currently reigning society," says Slowinski, "are the elements which I portray in painted form." The frozen rictus smiles of Winter's Breath (previously exhibited by the Woodstock Artists Association), the disturbing energy of Dr. Fragos and Mr. Tim (a self-portrait that numerous performers demanded be taken off the Kleinert Gallery's wall and hidden), and the Diane Arbus-like strangeness of Winter Sunday 1958 all strike a deep, hidden chord. Listen, with its expressionist scream, and the distorted form of Woman In Mirror are all-out attacks on the illusion of harmonic equilibrium between mankind and the material world. As works meant to disturb and make each viewer conscious of their own mortality, these paintings are eminently successful humdingers.

Lest you fear Slowinski has painted himself into one of those corners you have to commit suicide to get out of, three gentle, spiritual pencil drawings and a few loop-and-eyeball ink abstractions are also exhibited. These alternative expressions of Slowinski's inner temperament sport intriguing titles such as Whales, Towards Heaven Swimming; Roots of Man; and God. His exhibit at the Night Gallery runs through September 15.