Pastel is the New Paint
On first glance the works of Polish artist Richard Milek appear to be some of the most accomplished oil paintings in the contemporary canon.As a result Milek has been held to critical acclaim for many years, as the top pastellist in Poland since 1997 and vice-president of the Polish Pastel-Drawings Artist Association. Milek has also gained international recognition, participating in over 250 exhibitions across Europe and the USA, including the 2013 London and Chianciano Biennales in which he was awarded prizes. As an artist with great success on the market, Milek’s works are held in collections in New York, Paris, Austria, Poland, and London - to name but a few - typically at around £6,000.
Milek’s work ranges from graphic abstracts, to vivid cityscapes and sensuous figurative pieces, all of which are truly a feast for the eyes. However, Milek’s work contains an even deeper genius as his ‘paintings’ are actually completed using oil pastels, rather than oil paint. Milek’s work ranges from graphic abstracts, to vivid cityscapes and sensuous figurative pieces, all of which are truly a feast for the eyes.
Whilst Milek’s incredible skill in the handling of his uncommon medium produces works of the intensity and prestige of oil painting, his choice of pastel is not incidental as it allows him to create even more nuanced effects beyond the scope of even the most advanced painters. Milek’s brilliant talent for infusing his work with astounding depth, and adept handling of light comes from his technique of underlaying a soft base in black and white. This base creates the delicate tones of the work whilst not inhibiting the vibrance of the abstract colours placed on top. Thus the eye is drawn deeper to find a way through the colour to the tonal genius underneath.
by Helen McFarlane