Tomasz Rut's art in the essay by Colton Rowe
Click on the image to view details
We were delighted to hear from a collector who sent us a copy of an essay written by her son for his high school writing assignment. Here is her message:
“ My husband, Colton's dad, is a Lt. Colonel in the Oklahoma National Guard. He has served in Desert Storm and in Afghanistan. All three of my children have been affected by this war. I think it shows in what Colton wrote. "In Fide" hangs in our living room as a constant reminder to our family of our service. It means a lot to all of us.”
Tomasz was deeply moved by your appreciation and very impressed by Colton’s eloquent analysis of his painting. Thank you.
ESSAY BY COLTON ROWE
“In Fide” by Tomasz Rut
“In Fide,” an oil on canvas work done by contemporary artist Tomasz Rut, is done in the style of classical Greek Art, striving towards realism and perfection of the human form. The Greek theme is further completed by the addition of artificial weathering, making the painting seem like a lost treasure from some forgotten Grecian temple.
The background of the painting, an American Flag, immediately catches the viewer’s eye, but the focus quickly shifts to the foreground, drawn in by the two key figures of the piece. A naked man lays his head in the lap of a female angel, the position of his body conveying a sense of extreme sadness or loss. His face is turned from us, but his sagging posture and downturned head are just as expressive as if we could see tears running down his cheeks. The angel, clothed in a loose white tunic, gently consoles the man, her hands resting on his back and head like a mother comforting a child. Her eyes stare intently at the viewer, her face set, sending a silent warning to anyone who catches her chilling glare. Her wings rest gently at her sides, as if she were ready to fly into action at any moment. At the very bottom of the painting, what appears to be soil comes up to meet the flag, giving the two a piece of solid ground to rest on.
The painting has an interesting balance of organic and geometric lines, organic in the man and angel but geometric in the flag. There are several triangles woven into the scene: the angel’s head and arms, her arms and dress, and her body and wings all form triangles that move the eye across the picture. Likewise, the angel’s wings form two implied ovals, and her head creates a bridge between the top of her wings.
The lighting is particularly dynamic, creating haunting shadows that accentuate the sense of fear and loss and creating a striking contrast between the flag and the ground, almost as if the bottom of the painting was hidden by shadow
itself. The color in the flag has the obvious symbolic meaning associated with it, but the white of the angel’s wings and dress suggest a sense of purity, while the man’s darker shaded body makes him seem almost tainted with sin or sadness. Being a painting, the actual texture is rather
smooth, but the visible texture is anything but. The fabric and hair seems like it could move in the slightest breeze, the flesh looks like it would be warm to the touch; but at the same time, the artificial aging makes it look rough, revealing it for the artwork that it is.
Although the painting’s physical balance is obvious, the visual balance is steadfast and solid due to an excellent use of approximate symmetry by the artist in the flag and angel. The entire picture exudes a sense of immovability, as if it were painted on brick rather than canvas. The eye is naturally drawn to the focal points of the two figures heads, the angel’s gaze and the man’s downturned face that seem magnet in their ability to attract the looker’s gaze. Throughout the entire piece, there is a rhythm repeated. The horizontal lines in the flag nicely contrast the vertical lines of the feathers in the angel’s wings and the folds of her dress. The two sets of lines could not be more different in the way they achieve a sense of unity, and yet they seem to balance each other in some alien way.
The feelings invoked by this piece are complex, at one time creating a stirring feeling of loss and grieving that is balanced by the sense of protection afforded by the angel. Her stance seems motherly, possibly symbolizing America herself, protecting one of her downcast and fallen children. A red blooded American cannot help but be stirred by the sight of the flag, but the emotion used forces us to wonder, “What is happening to our country?” Are we still the great nation we once were, strong and proud and pure, or are we slowly becoming like the man in the picture, defeated and broken. Will we allow tragedies like 9/11 to cow us or will we rise to the
occasion and triumph as we have since our creation? The artificial aging of this painting forces us to wonder and helps reestablish the paintings link with a possible antiquity: that of a forgotten America.
“In Fide” is as beautiful as it is evocative, as timeless as it is modern. I believe that it is a classic of its time that will entrance generations of American’s to come. Patriotism and emotion have not been so strongly tied together since the likes of Norman Rockwell, and this piece surpasses his works by miles. Finally, the title is extremely fitting, translating from Latin to mean, “Upon Faithful.”