— Exhibitions
Thom Trojanowski A Tree; My Favourite Life So Far

20 April – 25 May, 2024

Super Dakota is thrilled to present Thom Trojanowski’s first solo exhibition at the gallery : ‘A Tree ; My Favourite life so far’. His works draw from the history of modern painting to explore a deeply personal yet universally significant subject: a shared sense of connectivity and care for the natural world. This sentiment finds its roots in Trojanowski’s upbringing in a forest in England and his surroundings in Genk, aka ‘The Forest City’.

In ‘A Tree ; My Favourite Life So Far’, Trojanowski taps into autobiographical content to nourish his artworks, paying meticulous attention to his surroundings, sensations, and emotions. Born and raised in a forest where his parents worked as forest wardens, his formative years ignited an enduring quest for connectivity and care for the natural world, now central to his practice.

Throughout the exhibition, trees serve as central symbols, each imbued with its own unique mood and personality, while butterflies, both painted and sculpted, symbolize transformation and the ephemeral nature of life. Their transformative character and fleeting lifespan serve as poignant reminders of nature’s delicate fragility. Embedded within the paintings are nods to domestic settings: ceramic shards, modernist tile patterns, windows, gates, or fences, all contributing to a dialogue between indoor and outdoor spaces, with each influencing the other. A portrait of his wife, Stevie Dix, lying in her childhood bedroom, exemplifies this interplay, where the forest whispers through the window. These elements collectively evoke a sense of nostalgia and intimacy, inviting viewers into a suspended moment where past and present coexist. Throughout his exploration of trees, figures, landscapes, and night scenes, the artist delves into old themes reimagined through a contemporary lens, reflecting the urgency of environmental challenges and the call for a new ecological paradigm.

Drawing instinctively from late 19th-century artistic movements, wherein artists departed from strict realism to embrace a more sensitive interpretation of reality, Trojanowski’s compositions feature a diverse array of colors, forms, and textures intricately layered and juxtaposed. Utilizing techniques such as diluted and rubbed oil on canvas, he creates a tie-dye effect, contrasting with areas of thick paint infusing vibrancy into both biotic and abiotic elements. This dynamic materiality invites tactile exploration, echoing the artist’s experiences in the forest from a young age, while also paying homage to the history of painting.

Trojanowski’s paintings, while primarily figurative, integrate abstract elements reminiscent of the early 20th century, drawing influence from post-impressionist artists, Gustav Klimt’s powerful nature motifs, and contemporary painters such as Peter Doig. Notably, there’s a parallel that can be made between the fusion of music and painting during this period, exemplified by Apollinaire’s introduction of the term Orphism to connect the two art forms. This connection is particularly noteworthy given Trojanowski’s background as a professional musician with the group The Cheek. This musical influence infuses his artworks with a rhythmic flow, even if only instinctively. Moreover, Trojanowski employs color theories from Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist movements, harnessing the subjective nature of color to convey emotional depth and impact.

‘A Tree ; My Favourite Life So Far’ is a journey of introspection and connection, guided by Trojanowski’s evocative artworks. Through his masterful exploration of nature, memory, and emotion, the artist prompts us to contemplate our place in the natural world and the urgent need for ecological stewardship in the face of contemporary environemental challenges.