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Swedish original

Stig Åke Stålnacke - Art Critic - about Martin Jan Ogrodnik's Art:

He has been struck by the seeing eye. His soul has the ability to absorb the underlying context. Within him visions are being stored, transformed into poetical drama.
Everyday life reaches inside of him. That which belongs to all of us. Which is about the flow of everyday work, everyday tenderness, everyday life. His soul transcends these visions and states, these everyday events to psychological dramatic puzzles.

He - the Painter Martin Jan Ogrodnik - creates art that puts the limelight on those things being uttered in the whispers of Life, that which is pounding inside the secret heart, that which is concealed only in the secret surge in our blood.
It is seldom that I find contemporary art that manages to take on the genre called surrealism.
To make myself clear; there is a shortage of art today that manages to sing the song about the inner feeling.

But Martin Jan Ogrodnik manages. He has set out to bring the surrealistic art a step further. He does not abandon painting, instead he intensifies his work with paint and brush. Seeks the states that will only be found in our hearts and creates high octane poetry from them.
His exhibition rooms become very silent halls, filled with secrets. And if you just allow yourself the time, you will find the inward leading roads. Continuously inwards towards the yearning of the soul. And sometimes towards the power of the soul, its lyrics and secrets.

I have to admit; his pictures are mostly a kind of cult centres for me. It is about landscapes that I might have visited, and it is about states existing as memories.
I reunite with the lost, moment of enlightenment.

Martin Jan Ogrodnik’s pictures do not have anything to do with decor. They are as far as possible away from the charm of the superficial. Even though painted by a master of the hand, with great care and enormously accurate motions these are not decorations.
Instead it is, all the time, the creation of man’s eternal drama. As a playwriter he sketches sceneries with enormously explosive power. The idyll never gets any space worth mentioning. The great emotions and the big games and the important decisions are at display.
That is why it is artistry that easily gets traits of great ambition. Almost solemnity. Sometimes as if the artist has grasped the great dramas impossible to imagine.
Still his themes produce paintings. No compromise but elaborate essence bulging with symbols of Life.
His themes may be:

  • desolation
  • life as a game, drama of fate
  • borderless room of thoughtfulness
  • conditions of peace
  • meaning of the wander
  • religious symbolism
  • hour of reckoning

As you can see he does not hesitate to deal with the big, the delicate, the exposed man and man before the big questions. But he doesn’t put man as a god or giant in his painting. Indeed there are people appearing everywhere, but like in Japanese painting the figures become small, almost fragmentary, in the huge landscapes and under the skies. Man becomes a clown, or harlequin. Man becomes the lonely child holding the doll and being cold with large eyes.

There is a picture in this painter’s collection that I feel especially strong about. It’s called Apocalypse of S:t John suggesting Judgement Day. Man appeals to someone for mercy. Love and heaven opens an eye in its beauty, revealing the answer to man’s question which he has always borne. (And always will bear). The answer is thus in our longing.


It’s a capturing painting (to me) from the point of view that it owns so much of beauty, drama and so much of, if not revelation, the dream that one heart may reach another. That painting has an air of forgiveness and therefore becomes important. From hazy dreams to dissipated haze.

This shows that Martin Jan Ogrodnik is always, in his artistry, preoccupied with the questions he feels are man’s fatal questions. He never for a moment resorts to using the surrealistic style to ridicule, to mock or to make fun of the observer. When so many surrealists produce stereotype pictures en gros, mockery mixed with pathetic props, then Martin Jan Ogrodnik paints his mythical stories, faithfully and meticulously. Thoroughly and pedantically. But above all, poetically and philosophically. You have to burst out in joy when art becomes engaged in the big issues and when painting has its basis in the wondering about the rights and obligations of man.

I also feel struck by the Joker paintings. We are like helpless clowns, jokers. We play our games and get cocky and seldom realise this attitude bereave us from our genuine poetic lives. In this sense Martin Jan Ogrodnik’s images are enormously revealing and almost cruel.
Reasonably enough I come to think of the deceased Swedish painter Folcke Jacobson when I watch the art of Martin Jan Ogrodnik. Both painters let their art grow from presentiments, momentary issues, sudden visions and at the bottom the sourness and sweetness of experience. There is a painting made by Jacobson called Out of a Woman's Hair. The artist uses the hair as a starting point in a breathless artistic adventure.

In the same manner Martin Jan Ogrodnik set out to design the most extraordinary visions upon our retinas with bare signs of beauty, powerlessness, abandonment and vision. He sets fire to a stick of wood. That is the way to create art out of life.
Time after time I notice a pounding heart in his paintings. And the question has to be:
Why do these oil paintings concern me?
What is it that touches something inside of me?
How is it possible that the work with paint and brush on canvas by a single person is significant to my life?

Well, his artistry implements the same signs in life, the same dreams and nightmares that we are all confronted with. We ”bend” life and reality in our dreams into something close to chaos and God. And our longing springs out of this.
Then the pictures, they are sometimes, and in favourable moments, the answer to our longing. I read that an important painter in the history of art that when he ”ceased to please” his genius came forward.

This is not a declaration of genius. But it will do to point out that pleasing is not the objective in the artistry of Martin Jan Ogrodnik. Not the act of pleasing but the conditions of Life. Not ingratiation signifying fair kindness. But an abundance of beauty or perhaps tenderness in the brush.
In a moment of doubt I considered painting being an art on the verge of extinction. I thought flat images as breathing of the spirit or a fire thrower or a question, was run over.
Again and again I rediscover art painting as the Possibility. I regard the pictures as the strongest marks left after Man’s striving, eager, multiplicity, fear, adoration of beauty, fervour for love and whatever you can think of. And Martin Jan Ogrodnik once again engrosses the thesis that painting is alive. Anyway for me. And for him and many others.

Emanating from all the suspicion surrounding art painting those artists rise that never have regarded art as a decor or a flirtation, but as orbiting the problems and fortunes of our fateful existence. I’m sure there are new techniques, new bright ideas, new people and new materials in art. As well as new questions and new attitudes towards artistry.
But here I wish to pause. Just as Martin Jan Ogrodnik is.

It is my indubitable right to pause at an art that still reaches me. An art that still breathes and makes my cheek warm and full of blood and life. Every day is new. As every second. Every day and every second give birth to new sensations and decisions, new adventures and new agonies.
But Man lives only for a fraction of a second and his entity sees nothing but threat, love, fear and tenderness.
This the painter Martin Jan Ogrodnik seems to know. It is about these seconds of life, failures, hesitation, humility and joie de vivre that he composes into images. Frozen Eternity.