Andrzej Urbanski is an established Cape Town-based artist prized for his immaculate hard-edged abstract art. The clean, precise forms defining it belie its relationship to memory, sensory and spatial encounters, emotions and psychic states, which are channelled most often into overlapping colourful geometric shapes, implying resolution. The bold shards of colour characterising his art may recall objects, places, experiences from his youth, the colour of a building or a room, or encompass the state of mind he is in as he steps into his Woodstock studio. As such his painted art is described as ‘high’ or ‘low frequency’, referring to either a complex matrix of influences shaping intricate compositions, or in the latter instance, quieter, ‘less busy’ forms often united by a subdued colour palette.
His art appears to be the result of an automated process – the precision of its execution engenders this notion that it is generated by a detached, robotic or digital tool. His interest in generating this illusion is rooted in his fascination with digitally produced art, the digital tools he uses in plotting his intricate compositions, the relationship between lived experience and virtual reality and the valorisation of handmade products in the post-industrial era. It is also informed by his appreciation for the minimalist movement, though he is inspired by a range of high modernists from Rothko to Piet Mondrian.
He employs the unconventional spray paint medium in his abstract painting as it produces flat colour and removes any trace of the ‘artist’s hand’. This conforms not only to the minimalist ethos but his desire to replicate imagery that appears to be digitally generated.
He is a prolific painter and sculptor who has participated in countless group exhibitions around the world since graduating with a Masters in Fine Art from the ECAL University of Art and Design in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2012. He was born in Poznan, Poland in 1983 and settled in Berlin, Germany with his parents in 1989. Growing up in Berlin’s ‘grey zone’ after the fall of the wall in the late eighties when barriers between east and west were eroded activated his participation in street culture. He first experimented with spray-paint as a grafitti artist before applying this medium in a fine art context. After exhibiting in shows in his then hometown of Berlin, Georgia USA, Canada and Switzerland, a Cape Town residency brought him to South African shores in 2012. He relocated to this country and enjoyed his first solo exhibition, Mindgame, here in 2015 at Salon 91 Gallery in Cape Town.
It was a sell-out show and he has gone from strength to strength as an artist, producing larger more ambitious works and compositions. His art is distinctive and of high quality earning him a solo booth at the 2016 FNB Joburg Art Fair. He is currently represented by the oldest and largest art gallery group in South Africa, Everard Read. A successful 2016 solo exhibition at their Circa Cape Town gallery will be closely followed by exhibitions in Circa Joburg and Everard Read London in 2018.
“Urbanski is a rare breed of artist – one who authentically manages to playfully negotiate perfect applications and concrete designs with a focused ability that denotes fresh and pertinent abstract experimentation,” says Emma Van Der Merwe, Head Curator at Everard Read.
“Urbanski has settled on a vocabulary and aesthetic that chimes with these times though its lines extend back in time,” wrote art commentator Mary Corrigall in Cape Times, August 23, 2017.
“I believe I can be better than the machine.”
- AB02 833/387/18, solo exhibitions. Everard Read, London, 2018
- Investec Art Fair, with Everard Read / CIRCA Booth, Cape Town, 2018
- AB01 1200/550/17 Solo Exhibition, Everard Read /CIRCA, 2017 Cape Town
- Cape Town Art Fair, with Everard Read /CIRCA, 2017 Cape Town
- Summer Exhibition II, Group Show, Everard Read, London 2017
- Winer Collection, group Exhibition, CIRCA, Cape town 2017
- Hardline, Group Exhibition, CIRCA, Cape Town 2017
- Southern Abstraction, group exhibition, Everard Read, London, 2017
- Spectrum, group exhibition, CIRCA, Johannesburg, 2017
- HARDLINE, CIRCA Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, 2016
- FNB Joburg Art Fair solo booth with Salon91, Johannesburg. South Africa.
- AKKA Art Fair, Everard Read/ CIRCA Booth, Paris, France
- Abstract Show, group show, Circa & Everard Read, Johannesburg, 2016
- Winter Collection, group show, Everard Read, Cape Town 2016
- Paths, Two-man exhibition with Tahiti Pehrson at Salon91. 2016
- Cape Town Art Fair with Salon91 2016
- Bronze, Steal and Stone, group sculpture show, Circa & Everard Read, Johannesburg 2015
- This is the Place, a group exhibition at Salon91 2015
- Turbine Art Fair with Salon91 2015
- MINDGAME, a solo exhibition at Salon91 2015
- Cape Town Art Fair with Salon91. 2015
- Golden Haze, Salon91, 2015
- Turbine Art Fair with Salon91, Johannesburg 2014
- Paper is You II, group show at Salon91, Cape Town. 2014
- Cape Town Art Fair with Salon91 2014
- A Vacant Passage, Works by Paul Senyol & Andrzej Urbanski with Salon91
- Abstract Stories, /A Word of Art, Cape Town. 2013
- Kalahari Catalyst Art Auction, Cape Town; 2012
- One K Collection, Lovell Gallery, Cape Town; 2012
- Chance Visitor, Solo exhibition /A Word of Art, Cape Town 2012
- Neo-Maso, Geneva, Switzerland; 2012
- Art Base, Art Festival, Berlin 2012
- Retranchment-Manoir de Martigny, Switzerland; 2012
- Living Walls, The City Speaks, Atlanta, Gerogia, USA; 2012
- The Swarm exhibition, Vancouver, Canada. 2012
- Process No. 14, works by Sabine Grizmek, Andrzej Urbanski and Carina Jo Sivager, Prozessgallerie, Berlin. 2011
- Process No. 01, group exhibition Prozessgallerie, Berlin 2009