For Filip Olszewski’s first solo exhibition at Kimberly-Klark, the gallery walls, drenched in Cabernet-colored paint, are divided into three titular zones, each displaying an echo of the same figure painting and a selection of framed images that distinguish their affective pitch. Between the walls, floorspace is broken up by multi-shaded tiles and imposing, 8-foot pillars (also Cabernet) forming a cool, irregular pattern, ordered by a linguistic code of the artist’s making. Here in the gallery, as in the psychological grounds of relational endeavors, structural foundations set precedents for how we experience emotionally charged scenarios.
Olszewski takes inspiration from early video games of the graphic text adventure variety–games which narrate to the player what limited pixel imagery can only roughly portray. Through the ingress of a Start button, a world unfolds and the player types in commands to solve thematic puzzles and complete tasks. As in a game, a relationship serves as a portal to an alternate reality; light appears brighter here, actions are semaphores for deep feelings, and wounds cut much, much deeper. And while there is no level-like hierarchy in the regional distinctions of this show, we can observe there is identifiable singularity–interpersonal DNA. What poetic details we find in the dynamics of the Well cannot recur in quite the same manner as in the Windmill, but its elements refract, and its objective might always be pure.
The intimate triad of soft violet paintings radiate those ideals in which our players’ romantic intentions are formed. The surrounding snapshots of how each scenario plays out, however, is mediated by the architectural space–both positive and negative–between both characters, and manners of response to oblique pillars of silence or variably encoded physical messaging. The artist has embedded these challenges in the form of visual puzzles and shockingly physical transformations of interior terrain. The players’ task is simply to explore.