Antiques and the Arts Weekly
"Realistic Works by Alex Gnidzeijko at Clarke Galleries Through May 12"
Published by The Bee Publishing Co, Inc., Newton, Connecticut
April 26, 1996
PALM BEACH, FLA. --- Clarke Galleries is representing an exhibit of still lives painted by contemporary American artist Alex Gnidzeijko (pronounced "ned-jeck-o") in a style of heightened realism achieved through attention to detail reminiscent of Renaissance Flemish painters.
Winner of many awards, he is distinguished by having two Time magazine cover portraits in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian.
Grier Clarke, gallery owner, explaining his choice for the show, said "...Gnidziejko not only is one of the foremost masters in this medium, he paints still lifes of common subjects such as lemons and lobsters in harmonious compositions." Gnidziejko's attraction to portraiture stems from his fascination with people and the mystery he believes each individual possesses. "I love talking to people about their lives, and painting seems to be an extension of these conversations." When not working on a commissioned portrait, the artist paints "portraits" of still life compositions which are the foundation for his latest show.
Educated at Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts, Gnidziejko subsequently worked as a commercial illustrator for 25 years before moving to Maine. He employs the painting methods of the Renaissance masters developed in their world list only by candles, which results in works graced with a light from within.
When oil colors were introduces, Flemish painters began combining the crispness of tempera with the mutability of oils to achieve a heightened sense of realism. To achieve this the artist made a precise underpainting with white egg tempera over an imprimatura and built up the painting with layers of oil color glazes. Rather than using pure egg tempera, which is dry pigment ground in water and mixed with an egg yolk for the underpainting, Gnidziejko uses an egg-oil emulsion which consists of the pigment and water mixed with a whole egg, cold-pressed linseed oil and damar varnish. The effects of his technique produce a palpability and luminescence that are extraordinary.