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Inlander: A Polish artist’s first U.S. solo show lands in Spokane

A Polish artist’s first U.S. solo show lands in Spokane

The work of Polish painter Bartosz Beda is coming to the Marmot Art Space.

The work of Polish painter Bartosz Beda is coming to the Marmot Art Space.

  • The work of Polish painter Bartosz Beda is coming to the Marmot Art Space.


Polish artist Bartosz Beda is coming to Spokane, carrying with him some hype for his first solo show in the U.S. at Marmot Art Space in Kendall Yards. The exhibition opens on First Friday and will last through July, with pieces reflecting on social anxieties and lessons of history.

Audiences can capture his style by taking in new paintings for which Beda applies a method called impasto. This is a technique where the paint is laid thickly enough on the canvas to allow brushing and knife-like strokes, providing texture along with the appearance that the paint is coming out of the canvas.

Beda’s work often explores the relation between daily life and human nature, and he describes humanity as a chocolate cake. Beneath the icing there lies more puzzling mixtures of fears and social pathology.

Marmot Art Space curator Marshall Peterson says that there’s a new aspect to this particular exhibition that he’s never experienced with any other visiting artist. Collectors are purchasing Beda’s pieces, with the intent of selling them for three to eight times their original price in the years to come. In the past three years, his works have increased in value by 500 percent.

The opening reception takes place Friday, July 1, from 5 to 8 pm at Marmot Art Space (1206 W. Summit Pkwy.)

For a complete listing of First Friday events around Spokane this month,


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Spokesman Article: Bartosz Beda is an artist on the rise

article, solo exhibition, bartosz beda, paintings 2016, artist

article, solo exhibition, bartosz beda, paintings 2016, artist

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From Poland and England, Bartosz Beda is an artist on the rise

For most of his 32 years, Polish painter Bartosz Beda lived in big cities in Europe. He now spends his days painting in the rural Palouse. Shortly after being named as one of Caitlin Art Guide’s most promising emerging artists in the United Kingdom in 2012, Beda packed up his paintbrushes and moved from Manchester to Moscow. That’s Moscow, Idaho, where his wife teaches art as an assistant professor at the University of Idaho.

In 2013, Beda had planned to visit his then-girlfriend for just a month at her new college town before returning to his busy life and art studio in England. “When I got here I already had my solo exhibition scheduled in Madrid, and I needed to produce more work to fill it,” Beda said. “I decided I could just rent a studio here, finish the work, and send it to Spain.”

Three years and several international shows later, the artist – who London’s Evening Standard calls “a rising star” – still rents the same barren studio tucked in a quiet corner of the backyard of a home near downtown Moscow. From a tall table scattered with tubes of oils and cans of drying paintbrushes, Beda works long hours. He’s up at 4 a.m., and sometimes paints until 10 p.m., with only the company of a single photo of his wife taped to a wall by a dusty desk littered with tea bags and camera equipment. But this time Beda hasn’t sent his paintings overseas. As part of First Friday in downtown Spokane, he will hold his first solo exhibition in the United States, just a 90-minute drive away, at the Marmot Art Space in Kendall Yards.

Marmot owner Marshall Peterson still can’t quite believe he was able to book an internationally acclaimed artist such as Beda.

“Imagine you just found out that a young Picasso, Warhol or Dali just happened to be passing through Spokane to exhibit, prior to becoming renowned,” Peterson said. “Would you want to meet them? See their art?”

Beda, who still occasionally travels to work in his Manchester studio, has been short-listed for the Title Art Prize, The Door Prize, and The Saatchi New Sensations 2012, and won the esteemed Towry Award for the Best of the North of England in 2012. In 2014, Beda was short-listed for Italy’s Combat Art Prize, named a finalist for the Williams Drawing Prize in Connecticut, and won second prize for Viewpoints 2014 at Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, in New Jersey. In addition to solo exhibits in Colombia, Spain, the UK, Germany and Poland, Beda has participated in nearly a dozen group shows throughout the United States.

Beda said the personal milestone of his first U.S. solo exhibit and the recent exit by the UK from the European Union has, perhaps sadly, become forever connected in his mind. “I try to be a person of the world,” Beda said. “I now see that I can take nothing for granted.”

After initially struggling with what to call his first U.S. solo show, Beda finally settled on “Hear My Voice.” He said, “These three words are my momentum for the entire adventure in this exhibition.”

Beda’s voice has always been fresh, ever since he started winning national art prizes when he was an 18-year-old art student in Poland. “Whenever I have a new show, I have to push the boundaries of painting … to think what will I do next, and how will I do a new subject,” Beda said.

Viewing a Beda painting can be an unsettling experience. In one of his larger pieces for the show, what first appears to be a cheery family holiday at the beach takes on a disturbing mood upon further examination of the blotted out eyes and unfinished and frenetic brush strokes. “You can enjoy the painting, but you will always find something that might bother you,” Beda said. “I like this middle point in the painting with the viewer, where they can go either direction … not sure if it is good or bad.”

The meaning deepens when the viewer discovers the family portrait was inspired by an old photo of Poland’s former president Lech Walesa spending vacation with his wife and kids. The icon of freedom and democracy appears in a couple of other paintings in the exhibit, along with Pope John Paul II of Poland, the first non-Italian pope from the same era of Poland’s overthrow of Communism.

Beda admits the show at Marmot will be his most Polish-centric to date, but insists that the subject choices are more a reflection on what is happening with democracies around the world than a nod to his own personal history. “I don’t know. It could be also a representation of my own transformation or integration with new challenges in the United States,” Beda said.

While much of Beda’s work contains political references, often he finds inspiration through simple internet searches. “I go through hashtags on Twitter or Instagram, and if I find something unusual, than I just type the words in Google and see what kind of image source I can get,” Beda said. “So when I lived in Germany, I was translating Polish words into German, then from German into English, from English back to German, and I always get different results. It’s never defined that this means that.”

Beda’s energetic style, his decisions on what parts he defines and where he smears his paint, produces beautiful objects in themselves. His portraits sell in Europe as fast as he can create them. But, according to a 2013 article in UK’s MoneyWeek magazine titled “Six Rules for Spotting Great Art,” Beda refuses to rest on his laurels. “It would have been very easy for him to continue to create similar works,” according to MoneyWeek. “(But) he has deliberately challenged himself to evolve his practice.”

Beda doesn’t shy away from pursuing greatness through his art. “There are a lot of great painters but only few between them who are really trying to understand what painting is or how a painting can be changed to still keep it fresh as a medium,” Bartosz said. “Finding new ways of reinventing myself is really important.”

Reach visual arts correspondent Audrey Overstreet at

Find out why Polish artist Bartosz Beda is feeling good about things!

Polish artist Bartosz Beda, bartosz beda artist, paintings, artworks

Find out why Polish artist Bartosz Beda is feeling good about things, especially 1920s’ bikini lengths, at New School House Gallery show in York

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Polish artist Bartosz Beda, bartosz beda artist, paintings, artworks

Polish artist Bartosz Beda exhibiting at the New School House Gallery in York

WHY is Polish artist Bartosz Beda “feeling good about things,” to quote the title of his solo exhibition at the New School House Gallery in York?

“There’s nothing ironic in my title, but I guess everyone can interpret it in any way they like, but originally it came from being the title of one of my paintings, though it also comments on looking at things and feeling good about them,” says Bartosz, who re-located to Britain in 2008 to study at Manchester School of Art.

Earlier, he had attended a private fine art college in Poland from the age of 13 to 18 and initially he worked in animation on the Oscar-winning film Peter And The Wolf.
After graduating with a BA in Fine Art in 2011, he was selected for the 2012 Catlin Art Guide for most promising emerging artists in the UK and then progressed to the Masters programme at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Polish artist Bartosz Beda, bartosz beda artist, paintings, artworks

Bartosz Beda’s Feeling Good About Things exhibition in York

“Bartosz is one of the most exciting early career painters working in the North.” says New School House co-director Robert Teed, who first exhibited Beda’s work in a group show in 2012.

Bartosz’s most striking works have been placed on the gallery’s back wall. “The paintings were based on an article I saw about fashion in the 1920s, in particular about the length that bikinis had to be,” he says.

“What aligned in all the pictures was that all the women were looking down when the men were checking the lengths with their measurement tapes as there were strict rules. If the bikini was too short, the girl would be fined.”

In creating his paintings, Bartosz started off by using the photographic imagery of the women, then a burst of colours would be applied on top. |”I wanted the paintings to express an enjoyment of texture, paint and colour, combined with the mysterious act of lookingdown by the woman,” he says.
Bartosz works in oils. “It allows me to experiment,” he reasons. “You can paint wet on wet, which I like to do, or wet on dry, which I also like to do,” he says. “Painting wet on wet, I can allow colours to mix; but painting when the paint has gone sticky, I can control it more.”

Bartosz now divides his time between Manchester and Idaho, the American city to which he followed his Japanese-American wife. “In Idaho, I get a lot of time to think without any distraction, whereas in Manchester I find it very busy and I have to commit every day to my studio,” he says. “My Idaho work tends to be more colourful, like the paintings of the girls in bikinis. The Manchester work tends to be rougher and maybe done much quicker because there isn’t the spare time to reflect.”


Bartosz Beda’s exhibition, Feeling Good About Things, runs at New School House Gallery, off Peasholme Green, York, until April 27. Opening hours: Wednesday, Thursday, 12 noon to 4pm; Friday, Saturday, 10am to 4pm; other times by appointment on 07766 656030

Charles Hutchinson

2013 – selected

Review of Blast of Absolute, Expose Magazine, Dec 2014

Bartosz Beda currently on view at Bogota Arte Contemporaneo (Columbia)

PictureRepresentation and Abstraction in the Work of Bartosz Beda

By Anna Niebrugge
Published by Expose 
Currently, it is up at Bogotá Arte Contemporáneo Gallery of Bogotá, Columbia, where it will be available for viewing until January 9th, 2015th.  The space is large and comfortably filled with the paintings of Bartisz Beda.  The show consists of an impressive 53 artworks and 2 videos.  The way that the paintings are placed around the gallery feels very intentional.  Some are raised higher on the walls and some lower; a few so low that the viewer must look down on or even bend down, which creates an interesting interaction with the work.  The result is a show that pulls the viewer in, creating an engaging and thought-provoking experience.
Beda’s work is composed of built-up paint and carefully rendered faces or objects which are intentionally marred and fragmented.   The surfaces he paints on changes for each piece, from paper to canvas to sheet metal; it depends on the painting.  His medium of choice is oil paint. Working wet on wet, he allows the paint to mix on the surface and build up very thick in some places, while allowing the surface to peek through in others. The subject matter is both representational and abstracted; first the subject is painted and then parts are removed or altered. The subject matter uses historical, biblical, and well-known people, religious objects, and his own likeness to explore ideas of human expression, feelings, and self. In the center of the room is a sculptural display of thirty small paintings, cascading down a pillar.  It is a collection of marks made while Beda was working on this show. The installation speaks about reuse and recycling and the idea of putting effort into keeping the earth clean.  The paintings along the walls are set in groups, each group illustrates a concept the Beda works with. In the painting Heal Thyself I Beda uses the image of a dictionary and St. Peter to explore the human intentions: its transformations and subsequent fears .The artist, Bartosz Beda is originally from Lodz, Poland. He earned his BA and MFA in the United Kingdom and has spent six months in Germany with a scholarship residency, dedicated to developing his artwork.  Beda currently lives in the United States where he is continuing to push and explore his ideas with his

 view paintings from the solo exhibition here

Blast of Absolute by Bartosz Beda