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Profile

Art Busting for Attention, Isadora Noble

Since Waldemar Kolbusz embarked on his journey through the Arizona and Nevada desert in 1997, his first solo exhibition “Freeway” has developed into a vast and developing collection of work – signaling the start of the artist’s obsession with expressionism. Before that there was painting in studios in Provence and Portugal, conversations with a sculptor in New York and a lifelong inspirited artistic fascination. Now there is also a return to figurative works to provoke thought.

The journey certainly continues. Today, painting from house and studio in Perth. For large walls for international businesses, for deliciously vacant spaces in five star hotels and international casinos, tete-a-tete with the hushed, lunch-time table-talk in savvy, city restaurants, beside the bed-side tables of affluent collectors – up against garage walls, for exhibitions and art fairs nationally and abroad.

Kolbusz is a weaver of moods, his yarn a palette of hues.

At 27, Kolbusz left finance and now this ex-accountant has no regrets swapping ballpoints for brushes. What began as a “self-indulgence” for Kolbusz has now met with art world approval.

Vogue Living dubbed him “Design Aficionado” and after photographing a piece, purchased it for their own collection. And collections for IBM and KPMG, a commissioned 7m piece in 2009 for Crown Casino, Melbourne, and two whole collections of works for the presidential suites of Four Seasons in Macau. The list goes on.

His pieces have been widely commissioned and collected nationally and internationally. One art critic admires Kolbusz’s work for its “intertextuality”, while Belle magazine has used it for rather less conceptual reasons.

Kolbusz’s artworks truly seduce the viewer. His large canvases in oils combine rich colours which are often butted against deep dark stained backdrops. By using combinations of translucent colour and wax encaustic swipes of impasto texture, he achieves canvases busting for attention.

“Within the pure essence of abstraction, his language of colour, light and texture combine to produce art that screams, pulses, pushes, pulls, lulls and cools. The artist creates canvases that speak fluently to the senses,” believes Caroline Dettmer.

“Abstract and sublimely atmospheric paintings . . . A visionary experience realised through minimalist paintings of worldly and poetic sensibility and sensitivity.” Jove Winter, Art Critic.

Kolbusz has titled his ongoing series of expressionist paintings “Freeway”, a code for the fundamental journey. It also has physical reference to the desert freeway in Arizona and Nevada where the artist travelled, the life changing moments there from his youth still linger loudly.

Born in Perth to Polish parents, Kolbusz has embraced the Eastern European work and life ethic. He is a risk-taker with tireless energy. His instincts drew him to art at an early age. But Kolbusz remains primarily self-taught, abandoning visual arts studies at the University of Western Australia to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce degree.

Kolbusz pursued his accounting career which lead him to the coastal town of Esperance. Confronted by its unique and unforgiving light and landscape, its vastness and vibrant aqua ocean, it became obvious a career change was imminent. Later returning to Perth and travelling regularly, Kolbusz found himself questioning his priorities. In 1994, he negotiated a three day working week to afford more time to paint. In 1996 he resigned completely from accounting to pursue a full-time commitment to painting.

 

 

Statement

I paint in two streams which interrelate, one of figurative works about the progress of my actual practice and one of expressionistic works which explore progressive points of change within the paintings themselves.

More specifically with my expressionistic works where what has begun as unplanned and spontaneous (expressive), changes to controlled and considered. As I develop these paintings, what may be largely a mess could transform into something more resolved, what I consider beautiful.

On the other hand, my figurative works begin from what is controlled and considered, then develop with marks and gestures where the unexpected or spontaneous and expressive take over.

I have always been obsessive about order which served me well in my previous career as a certified practicing accountant. The degree to which we are all challenged in our daily lives between order and mess, controlled and spontaneous, big picture and small detail, draws me in.

My figurative works broadly document challenges and questions within my art career, including the relevance of being a painter today. The images are sourced usually from my own photography taken on my phone.

 

1969
Born Perth, Western Australia

1987
Commenced Bachelor of Arts (UWA) Visual Arts Major

1991
Completed Bachelor of Commerce degree (UWA)

1994
Completed post-graduate studies (CPA) and travelled

1996
Commenced full-time painting, exhibits regularly