Andrzej Jackowski & Ørnulf Opdahl

25 November - 22 December 2021

Purdy Hicks Gallery is delighted to present new paintings by Andrzej Jackowksi and Ørnulf Opdahl, whose work share luminosity and the magic of light.


Andrzej Jackowski’s (born 1947, Wales) work is largely autobiographical, based on his early childhood memories, recollections of a family history in Poland and the feeling of alienation and enclosure that these experiences roused. Often striking in their simplicity, Jackowski’s works engage with both personal memory and the wider historical domain.


Using powerful, insistent images from his past Jackowski explores ideas of human memory and psyche, both on a personal and more collective level. 'When I was eleven years old, I moved with my parents to London from a refugee camp in the north of England - where we had lived in huts made out of wood and felt covered in tar. We lived with my half-brother who was a photographer - when I was fourteen my parents separated, about the same time I painted a self-portrait and made a decision to become a painter.'


'It has been Jackowski's fate to be dealt, in childhood, a very specific experience. When he rediscovered in his 30’s the imagery of the wooden barracks, it took on a resonance far larger than any autobiographical or local predicament. His drawings and paintings now became imbued with some of the defining events of modern European history: the concentration camps; the war and its displacement of populations; the tragic fate of Eastern Europe. Jackowski's world of wooden slats testifies to a collective experience of loss.....However personal or private Jackowski's impetus may have been in origin, he ended up, almost despite himself, creating a kind of contemporary "history painting" '. (Timothy Hyman) 


Ørnulf  Opdahl (born 1944, Alesund, Norway) explores the vast and majestic landscapes of the west coast of Norway, where he lives and works.   Moving between observation and abstraction, he employs strong elements of colour and shape to build up compositions that highlight the scale of his environment. Dark masses of towering mountains, often draped in fog or snow, are offset by pin pricks of manmade light shining in the black: signs of humanity’s small existence amongst these epic proportions of nature. The sheer cliff faces of the deep fjords, impenetrable but for a few solitary rays of sunlight merge with the darkening skies. The interplay between dark and light against such backdrops suggest a sense of both the ancient and the eternal.


Nature has the leading role in Ørnulf Opdahl’s art; wet, cold, rough, poetic, and, at times, almost abstract.  His interpretations of the Norwegian west coast nature may be seen as a renewal of the Norwegian landscape painting in the tradition of Johan Christian Claussen Dahl and Peder Balke. A mixture of concrete experiences and abstract impressions converge in his quest to capture the landscape’s changing mood and atmosphere. Opdahl distills the mood of western coastal landscape of Norway, which is much like Washington State, but on steroids.” (Lizette Gradén, University of Washington, Department of Scandinavian Studies)