The mid-20th century Bay Area Figurative
movement, which boldly resuscitated figuration in a moment dominated by
Abstract Expressionism, is finally getting its due in exhibitions across the country
light is being shed on contemporary artists—like
—following the lead of West Coast greats like
Similar to his post-modern predecessors,
Mitrowski blurs abstraction and representation in paintings that manifest
atmosphere through nuances of color and form and occasional, albeit arresting,
injections of figuration. While Mitrowski has lived in lush, free-spirited
Northern California since 1988, his work is also infused with a particularly
somber Eastern European sensibility inspired by his Polish upbringing.
The result of this cross-cultural, stylistic
amalgamation: rich, eerie compositions that bring Bay Area meditation on the
visual impact of light and landscape to a new, metaphysical level. In The Future
(2014), Mitrowski places a characteristically ashen, faceless figure against a
geometric backdrop rendered in vibrant, elemental red, yellow, and blue. In
some areas, the ghostly subject melts into his colorful surroundings, alluding
to the profound effects of the exterior world on interior emotions and
impressions. Secret (2014) depicts an ethereal floating bust in the
company of a deep black form moonlighting as a vortex or point of no return.
The juxtaposition of the two forms—one identifiable and bright, the other
amorphous and shadowy—references the complex polarities of human existence.