Every artist has milestones. Ewa Wilcynski reached one last Wednesday night. Her inaugural solo exhibition won’t be forgotten in a hurry, not least of all because it was held at the Royal Academy of Art – a coup in the career of any painter.
Located upstairs in the Senate rooms, a small horde of family, friends and art lovers (including the delightfully roguish Adam Ant) gathered after-hours to consume a limited supply of warm Prosecco. And, of course, to support the ever-decadent Wilczynski.
‘Throes’ brings together a selection of her work from 2012. The result is a ghostly cacophony of tortured souls and dream-like spectres spread across varying canvas sizes, from the delicately proportioned 8 x 10cm ‘Self Portrait’, to the epic two-metre square, ‘Crux’.
There is no doubting the ephemeral thread that binds her art together. On entering the gallery, Wilczynski’s haunting work seem to clamour from the same spiritual space, as if she is recalling images from a tangible hallucination. Certainly, she manages to evoke questions of death and the afterlife, but they are wrapped in an instinct for impactful composition and deft sense of proportion.
Was the show a success? Undoubtedly so: paintings were sold (surely investments for those who felt compelled to dip into their pockets), Instagram was buzzing, and glittering in her opulent Inbar Spector couture gown and platinum Pompadour, Wilczynski proved that she has the ability to captivate both the worlds of fashion and art.
Words: Will Pike
Portrait: Damien Frost