Bill Sawczuk's Big Country

Bill Sawczuk at work.
Bill Sawczuk at work.

I don’t know where to start. I believe this is the finest collection of Bill Sawczuk paintings I’ve ever seen.

Sawczuk’s “The Way I See It,” opens at Trio Fine Art with an artist’s reception on August 19th, 5-8:00 pm. Trio is located four blocks north of Jackson’s Town Square. Sawczuk will give a brief talk at 6:30 pm, and the show remains on exhibit through September 5th.

Sawczuk does not rest on his laurels.

“The Way I See It” departs from earlier exhibitions in that it includes so many large-scale works. Grandeur of scale, as well as intimate pieces, speak of sweeping mountain vistas to diminutive points of natural beauty. Sawczuk has taken much of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem into account.

As we age, we can be successful at feeling grateful and happy~~~even free~~~or not. Four years ago Sawczuk was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. The man who effortlessly climbed through high country has curtailed arduous painting treks. But God, he says, has provided him with another option. And it’s freeing.

“He has given me the ability to see great beauty and painting possibilities in intimate scenes that surround us. I’m presenting them in large scale paintings that, I hope, will put the viewer in the painting,” says Sawczuk.

Bill Sawczuk "Winter Glory." 36 x 48" Oil on Canvas
Bill Sawczuk “Winter Glory.” 36 x 48″ Oil on Canvas

Limited by a small studio space, Sawczuk has compensated by “jury rigging” his easel to accommodate large canvases.

Bill Sawczuk, "Edge of the Meadow," 8x10" Oil on Linen
Bill Sawczuk, “Edge of the Meadow,” 8×10″ Oil on Linen

The change breathes new life into Sawczuk’s works with broad, dramatic brushstrokes, new spatial compositions, light that ebbs and flows, and shining, fresh colors~~this show is STRONG, transitioning from full realism to soft abstraction. In the past, Sawczuk’s realism and preference for dusky tones and decisive, precise architectural paintings struck me as “art for men, manly men!” Now, all is embraced.

An artist can be intensely active moving around the canvas, using sweeping arm motions impossible to execute on a smaller surface.

“The large house-painting brushes create so many effects because it’s possible to thin the paint and work soft edges,” Sawczuk related. “Try it! Of course, you have to get a little more information in a large picture, and you have to be honest if you want viewers to step into the scene.”

Though some of his smaller works flirt with the abstract, the artist insists viewers cannot “enter” abstract work. Sawczuk says that’s just his feeling. He plans to stick with large works and search out ways to go even larger. 

Bill Sawczuk, "Afternoon." 8 x 10" oil on canvas - SOLD
Bill Sawczuk, “Afternoon.”

Don’t forget: Look for other Jackson Hole art happenings on my own site, the Jackson Hole Art Blog! Enjoy.