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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

francis bacon, bartosz beda, paintings 2016


Bartosz Beda

Expose Art Magazine: Encountering Bartosz Beda: It’s personal

Expose Art Magazine - December 2015Expose Art Magazine - December 2015 Expose Art Magazine - December 2015 Expose Art Magazine - December 2015 Expose Art Magazine - December 2015 Expose Art Magazine - December 2015 Expose Art Magazine - December 2015 Expose Art Magazine - December 2015 Expose Art Magazine - December 2015


Encountering Bartosz Beda: It’s personal 

Georgia Tiffany wrote an article about my paintings for December Issue of Expose Art Magazine. The article includes my recent paintings and pictures from my studio.
For more information about digital copy or hard copy of the Magazine, please go to Expose Art Magazine Website.


(…) Provocative.  Disturbing.  Intriguing. Every painting in the room.  But none of his work compelled me more that morning than the collection in the folio of ink drawings which he placed on the floor and turned page after page.  Lines and diaphanous smears, color running or strangely contained to blur or define each portrait, all eight faces revealing only one “functional” eye, the other either totally hidden by the hands or blackened as if gouged or disfigured or framed by the subject’s thumb and forefinger as if to focus the lens before taking a photograph.  Of whom? The viewer?  To see or not to see seems to be a thematic thread, every one of the portraits evoking its own narrative. (…)



studio visit, fresh paint magazine

Fresh Paint Magazine | Studio Visit Interview

Fresh Paint Magazine, Bartosz Beda

Bartosz Beda

Bartosz Beda received his  BA (Fine Arts) in 2011 and his MA (Fine Art) in 2012 from Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He was a recipient of 6 months Scholarship in Dresden, Germany. Beda was selected for the Catlin Guide for most promising emerging artist in UK. He has exhibited in solo exhibitions at Liebre Gallery, Madrid, Spain; BAC Gallery, Bogota Colombia, The Studios, Manchester, UK. He has participated in group exhibitions including New Sensations, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK and Detail, H Project Space, Bangkok, Thailand.

Studio visit, fresh paint magazine

FP: In your bio you mention that you travel a lot between the U.S. and UK. Do you always make work in the studio or do you adapt to creating during travel?

BB: It is a great opportunity to be able to live on two continents and to make paintings in two different parts of the world. It is much more refreshing for my mind than only holiday travels. The experience of going to the place I know and where I have worked before is priceless and gives new means of freedom. This little change brings satisfaction for many aspects of my life.

Now, we are living in a global village in big cities. Some of them are strategic cities where smaller transformations lead to changes in social dynamics. All of them are a part of larger transformations. Today, it is not enough to be based in one place or one city. The best I can get from what I do as a painter is coming from the experience of different styles of life, on two different continents. My practice is not limited to only painting, I practice a ‘life’ in various cities and different cultures. My painting is a part of this global environment where anything is possible.

These possibilities of taking my creativity from one place to another also cause struggles and require survival skills in the global village. I believe that cities themselves are not a jungle anymore; they are where you find your way to live. The real challenge right now is developing the capability to move among them and to identify them as one of your homes to which you come back whenever possible.Studio visit, fresh paint magazine

FP: How would you describe the subject matter of your work?

BB: I oscillate between abstract and figuration. I use images as a starting point and the selection of them can be pretty random. However, my paintings have a consistent subject matter. I am painting subjects related to religion, history, politics and other interests. My paintings are derived from the reflections I have based on the effect of a particular moment in time, and they are moments, which influence my daily practice. This gives me the ability to communicate with the viewer through my manipulation of an image.
Through my work I explore the parallel between daily life of human needs and the connection of people to visual sources found on personal mobile devices like phones and tablets. These everyday tools are stimulating our perception and imagination by hypnotising us more easily then ever with ideas and concepts, which very often fail in practice and have nothing in common with reality.Studio visit, fresh paint magazine

FP: What medium and technique do you typically work with?

BB: I work mainly with oil paints. Perhaps I like the smell of oil paints in my studio. It reminds me that I am a painter. It is a very interesting medium and allows me to experiment with surface and different methods of paint application. I believe that it is not always about the technique, but what I really want to say through painting. I am often times very rough with canvas surface.

FP: You moved to the UK from Poland. How does your personal history make its way into your paintings?

BB: Since age of seven, I always wanted to be a painter and do big things as an artist. I was doing everything to make it happen and began developing my skills in all fine arts as early as I can remember. I was very good in sculpture and there was a moment when I almost decided to become a sculptor but I found that I had an aptitude for painting. It was during the time when I worked for animation production ‘Peter and the Wolf, which got later an Oscar Prize. I had been working on scaling puppets made by another sculptor and she was motivating me to be a sculptor. I even made a sculpture portfolio. Then I went to the UK and decided that I needed to follow my heart and focus only on one thing, which I truly believed was painting.Studio visit, fresh paint magazine

None of the fine art mediums are easy, but I think that painting is the most challenging of them all. Painting has only a two dimensional surface to explore and the history of painting behind it, this doesn’t make it an easy medium at all.

FP: Your work often involves the figure, who are the characters depicted in your work?Studio visit, fresh paint magazineStudio visit, fresh paint magazine

BB: The figures depicted in my work are random people, family members, or historical / political figures. My concept is to manipulate images that people find in day-to-day life accessed through mobile devices. I am interested in reactions that viewers will have on the exhibited paintings, and I expect viewers to be surprised by how much images control and cause anxiety.

I am also inspired by words. Often times they decide what I will paint next. It was that way with the ‘Temptation’ paintings, where I was intrigued by origins of that word and it’s meanings in the culture. The definition of the word temptation says that it is a desire to do something wrong or unwise. The range of interpretations and meanings are wide. The paintings subject is beyond religious contexts. The concept of the word temptation can create a much different image for persons who have not seen the painting, but have an ability to imagine it, as something not related to what we consider as a holy. It is related directly to our personality and our ability to recognize the context without experiencing it. The emotional response appears once we experience something in reality. The attention and knowledge about temptation is obstructed, because what we see in paintings is holy and that is how we accept it. In fact, this representation of what is in the painting seems to work ultimately against the title. It is a particular condition for being human that we can isolate ‘temptation’ from all other concepts in our consciousness. The large and small scales of the paintings provide a dynamic back and forth conversation between the viewer and the paintings. The gestural application of paint is living in a mysterious space, where one thing becomes another.Studio visit, fresh paint magazine

FP: Where do you find your inspiration?

BB: Many things inspire my work. The fact that I am speaking a second language is one of these sources of inspiration. By playing with English words that have some impact or meaning for me, I am able to visualize concepts for paintings.

I am constantly on the move and that inspires me to paint too. I have my studio both in the United Kingdom and the United States. When I am in Manchester, obviously the big metropolitan city has a different impact on my work than a smaller college town in the United States. Manchester appears to be more about identity, labor, work and communication. It is a post-industrial city, where I can still sense an industry connection and that reflects in my work. My latest two paintings I made there ‘Labor I and II’ are strictly related to people who still work in industry. My work there reflects the busiest moments in life and is more about here and now, constantly on the move.

When I go to the United States, I am surrounded by a calm environment, where I am not involved that much with a city life. My work is different there, more colorful. I spend more time with each painting and contemplating the process of making each painting. The satisfaction is different.

FP: You seem to have a genuine love for painting. Where do you feel this medium is heading in today’s art world?Studio visit, fresh paint magazine

BB: I am a painter and I want to make an impact in the painting world, but I don’t know if I am the right person to answer this question. It is like estimating the value of diamonds. The experts are rarely wrong about the price and value, but at the end, only a few people establish the principles and standards. Also, nobody is becoming an expert overnight. It takes years to be great. As you mentioned, in the first place I have a love for what I do and this love pushes me forward. I think that future of painting depends on us painters, but I don’t think we can easily see where painting is heading.

Focus is the most important tool for me as a painter. Painting is hard work and shouldn’t be taken easily.Studio visit, fresh paint magazine

FP: In your bio you mention that you travel a lot between the U.S. and UK. Do you always make work in the studio or do you adapt to creating during travel?

BB: It is a great opportunity to be able to live on two continents and to make paintings in two different parts of the world. It is much more refreshing for my mind than only holiday travels. The experience of going to the place I know and where I have worked before is priceless and gives new means of freedom. This little change brings satisfaction for many aspects of my life.

Now, we are living in a global village in big cities. Some of them are strategic cities where smaller transformations lead to changes in social dynamics. All of them are a part of larger transformations. Today, it is not enough to be based in one place or one city. The best I can get from what I do as a painter is coming from the experience of different styles of life, on two different continents. My practice is not limited to only painting, I practice a ‘life’ in various cities and different cultures. My painting is a part of this global environment where anything is possible.

These possibilities of taking my creativity from one place to another also cause struggles and require survival skills in the global village. I believe that cities themselves are not a jungle anymore; they are where you find your way to live. The real challenge right now is developing the capability to move among them and to identify them as one of your homes to which you come back whenever possible.Studio visit, fresh paint magazine

All images courtesy of the artist

Alumni Stories

Art by Bartosz Beda, Manchester School of Art

Alumni Stories

About my career

When I was an undergraduate student, I was influenced by my tutors and other artists, but when I was studying for a Master’s degree, I was taught to be creative and independent. I believe that this mix of influence from others and individual independence is a good mix for development as an artist.

After my BA (Hons) in Fine Art, a gallery in London picked me up and since then I was able to meet and connect with collectors. When I graduated from the MA, I was selected for the Saatchi New Sensations 2012 and I was awarded a scholarship to Dresden Academy of Arts. Since then, I have been working as a full-time artist and I exhibit around the globe. I have my studios in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

I consider myself a painter of mostly representational paintings, but I also experiment with other forms of painting. This includes a mix of abstraction, figures, and objects, whether they are found or made from a scratch.

Bartosz Beda, Alumni Stories

I consider myself a painter of mostly representational paintings, but I also experiment with other forms of painting. This includes a mix of abstraction, figures, and objects, whether they are found or made from a scratch. I create different kinds of themes for each solo exhibition and each has different inspirations behind them.

Manchester is a great place for artists. I found that MMU provided me with the same resources that I could find in London; it had everything I needed to become a full-time artist. I believe that I was determined enough to work together with tutors to make sure that I could get the most out of my university experience and succeed after graduating.

My top tip for students is…

Tutors are there for you so listen to them carefully because your success is their success. Use your time properly and think about the study professionally. Your profession starts with the first day of your study.

I’m inspired by…

I found Sharon Hall a big support, who herself is an abstract painter, as well Ian Hartshorne, who was always around and shared his experiences. Both tutors were there for students and they knew exactly what each individual needed. I also can’t forget about Pavel Buchler, who is a great mentor and art supporter.

Why I love MMU

I loved the professionalism of MMU.


Explore Bartosz’s work on his website:


For more information go to: Alumni StoriesGraduate scoops national art prize

Art by Bartosz Beda, Manchester School of Art

Graduate Scoops National Art Prize for ‘Gandhi’ Painting

15 October 2012Art by Bartosz Beda, Manchester School of Art

national art prize: Artist impresses judges with unusual Gandhi portrait
Art by Bartosz Beda, Gandhi

Gandhi – study from memory


MANCHESTER School of Art graduate Bartosz Beda is celebrating after winning the northern section of the national art prize at National Open Art Competition.

Bartosz, who graduated with a Masters in Fine Art this summer, beat off competition from hundreds of entries to win the £1,000 prize with a portrait of the Indian leader Ghandi painted from memory.

He said that winning the prize was both “exhausting and exciting”.

“The painting is not really a direct representation of Gandhi; I was more interested in the idea of a portrait from memory and finding the concepts behind the painting,” he said. “So colour is the most important thing.”

Inspired by industry

Bartosz, who was also shortlisted for the Saatchi New Sensations prize is currently spending six months studying at the Academy of Arts in Dresden, after receiving a scholarship. But he says it was his time spent at the Manchester School of Art which allowed his creative talents to blossom.

“When I came to Manchester I began to love the city because of the industrial feeling of the landscape and the people, who are very focussed on industry, but at the same time the city has an artistic life – it is a very different experience to Dresden,” he said.

Now 28, Bartosz says he was just seven years old when he told his mum he wanted to be an artist when he grew up. Six years ago he started to concentrate on painting, and particularly the ways in which this traditional medium can be made relevant.

“I would be silly to say there is no tradition – the tradition is every painter,” he says. “The problem is what we can do with it to make it more contemporary and fresh for the viewer.

15 October 2012


Video 2012

Film by Sam Norton and Soraya Gilanni

A film by Sam Norton and Soraya Gilanni, 2012.

The film was made in spring 2012, when I was about to complete MA course in Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University.

AN Magazine

AN Magazine Interview

AN Magazine


By: Richard Taylor


Bartosz Beda is fast approaching the completion of his MA at Manchester School of Art in September 2012 with a slot in Saatchi New Sensations to follow straight after. We talk to the artist about his multi-lingual practice ahead of further exhibitions across Europe and a six-month scholarship at The Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden.

Born in Poland in 1984, Bartosz relocated to the UK in 2008 to study at Manchester School of Art. After graduating with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 2011, and appearing in the 2012 Catlin Art Guide, he then progressed onto the Masters programme in Manchester to develop his practice as a painter:

Richard Taylor: How would you explain your painting method?

Bartosz Beda: My paintings explore the relationship between daily life and human nature. I perceive humanity as a chocolate cake, where beneath the ‘iced’ surface lies an intriguing and challenging mixture of fears and social pathology. Through the application and process of painting, I cut a piece of this cake to explore the nature of these problems. Simple yet powerful gestured mark making is used to search for and re-investigate solutions that bring these hidden depths to the surface.

RT: As your work makes use of the universal language of paint, how is it different showing work in one country and then another using this language to communicate?

BB: It is like watching the same movie twice but in different languages. Suddenly, you realise that you cannot translate the same dialogue to another language exactly. To understand something in context, very often translation has to be changed from the literal or original form and this difference matters when you consider how translation then affects meaning. A similar thing happens with a work exhibited in one country and then another. But visual language confuses the act of communication and becomes an act of interpretation. Historical, political and social aspects are very important too; they impact and decide upon the universality of paint as a language.

For example, when I painted a portrait of Marx, for my Dad, it was a reminder of communism and the loss of human potential and energy as a result of an ideology that failed in practice. Here in England, Marx is a thinker who wrote ‘The Communist Manifesto’ and was buried in London. Both contexts are fine in as much as they provide a dialogue with an artwork. Also, painting is a good medium for expression, because you don’t need any special subject matter for a viewer to enjoy the artwork.

RT: What sort of works are you showing in the exhibitions you have planned this September?

BB: The first exhibition is ‘Head & Whole – Talking Heads’ at Abbey Walk Gallery in Grimsby. This is a group show and I will present work that deals with opposing colour and line making to stimulate the illusion of portraiture as subject matter. Both in drawing and painting harmony is created to dominate surface components, so the importance of subject matter is not accidental but rather a debate between line and form.

In my solo show at Galeria Rynek Sztuki 7 in Andrychow, Poland, I am planning to exhibit works that are emotive of the different stages and facets of memory. Some paintings will present a reality based on research in to photography and family albums. Other paintings will use the memory of objects and places as a starting point, to create a tension on the canvas.

I was also selected for ’53 Degrees’ at School House Gallery in York. Here I will exhibit two paintings that use colour as an enigmatic tool in avoiding direct representation. Instead more arbitrary decisions in the use of colour are used to clarify self-expression.


Art by Bartosz Beda, Interior with Chair Art by Bartosz Beda, Gandhi III Art by Bartosz Beda, Unreal Table

RT: What do you expect to gain from your scholarship in Dresden, and when do you go?

BB: The scholarship is an exchange with Manchester School of Art and I go straight after my MA Degree Show. This means I will step directly from one studio to another without a break. I am very excited!

There are solid things in my daily approach to canvas that still need development and, in context, better understanding. The scholarship will be a good opportunity to comprehend my role outside Manchester, a reason to take my paintings out of their current surroundings and confront them with a different culture and tradition of painting.

Whilst in Dresden I want to comprehend how creativity and conceptual understanding are going to be stimulated through the freshness of a new city, studio and people. In order to develop my painting skills I will absorb the knowledge of professors and make the most of a competitive questioning of the role of painting, in confrontation with other students. All this will help me understand what inspires a new body of work and how this influences professional development after scholarship.

RT: How much of Manchester will you take with you?

BB: All the experience gained at Manchester School of Art can be use to re-investigate my practice in new place. The MA course has challenged my day-to-day examination of image and image source, which I used as a starting point to support individuality as an artist. I wish to make Manchester my place to live and work, but I want to extend my professional practice widely and I plan to indicate my presence in Dresden as an active painter.


Richard Taylor

Richard is an artist/writer living in Edinburgh. He works as online editor on behalf of a-n The Artists Information Company for the Degrees unedited and Students community sites. He also produces art news for the a-n News site.

First published: August 2012

(detail) catalogue

frontcover inside2

(detail) accompanies the show of the same name curated by Andrew Bracey at Transition Gallery (and at H Project Space, Bangkok and The Usher Gallery, Lincoln). Produced by Transition Editions this 172 page publication includes images from all 118 artists and essays by Andrew Bracey, Simón Granell, Brian Curtin, James Elkins and David Ryan.

Available from Transition Gallery – £10

For more information please visit Transition Gallery

Silent Interior II, bartosz beda paintings 2015


blast of absolute, bartosz beda paintings 2014

2014 – selected

Bartosz Beda paintings 2015

The WIP Projects featured Bartosz Beda

The WIP Projects: What is Painting?


The WIP Projects featured Bartosz Beda

The WIP Projects featured Bartosz Beda

The WIP Project: What Is Painting? We thought it would be interesting to ask painters this simple yet complex question. This query comes with no ground rules—it’s up to each individual artist to find their own approach and direction.

This project will be an ongoing exploration … let’s see where it takes us.

What Is Painting?
by Bartosz Beda

I paint everyday, however, it is definitely to early for me to answer that question with the precision that I would like too. To define ‘what is painting’, I cannot forget the art history, the social changes and the role of the painting as a medium. Mark Rothko was asked once how long it takes him to paint one painting and in reply he said ‘whole life’. It sounds like a joke or cocky reply, but when we begin to think about it more, his answer was very careful and thoughtful. In order to understand what painting is, we need much more than a definition from an art history book.

I searched in Google the meaning of ‘painting’ and I got so much information, definitions and essays about the subject that I got the feeling that everything was already told and I don’t need to add anything else. Then, what is so magic about painting? Maybe the fact that painting comes through a social and cultural metamorphosis resulting in a new and fresh perspective? Painting has never stopped being important and surprising for painters.

As still young artist and painter, I do not know if I have a right to speak about this medium, as the answer is as complex as the question itself. I would like to find a new perspective in painting and change again the understanding of what it is.

Painting is an experience. If I want to experience a painting, then I am interacting with the surface face to face. That close interaction establishes a relationship and expresses my madness and mimesis. This allows me to focus on the here and now, which means that I am trying to understand what I can do with the process of painting and painting itself. It could happen through a simple act like refreshing my view on the painting by viewing other artworks by other artists. This allows me to be in the right time and space, and it helps me to create my own definition of a painting.

Today, more then before, painting is classified into definite categories. There are many categories of paintings. I would like to focus and distinguish only three, which so far, have resulted from my experience in the studio. The first I will call undisguised painting, that shows the images, which are excluded from painting and constitute a trace of history or defined image of photography. From my own experience the use of photographs as a starting point is nothing new and the fact that in most cases they do not represent anything particular is also common. They are pure images, which turn into something new in a painting and that brings importance to the experience with the painting.

The next category I shall call superficial painting. This kind of painting shares something that is insignificant and irrelevant, but still contains the essence of a subject. These kinds of artworks are easy to digest, without special meaning but often times well painted. They intrigue a viewer and circulate in the society, but they do not change the history of painting.

The third category I shall call meditational painting. This is a kind of painting is the kind I want to spend hours viewing. It is a perfection of the act of creation, with which even a god would be amazed.

I am learning everyday what painting is. I know how to do it. It is like a making my best coffee. You know a recipe, but no one can tell you how to make it the best, because it all depends on many elements. This is the constant factor in my day-to-day studio practice. I improve with every next painting, even if I consider the painted piece as not successful. I do not paint realistic paintings, but rather deformations of objects or people. This is the opposite of hyper-realistic or abstract paintings where the nature of described things is similar to what a viewer can understand. I define more clearly and expressively emerging hues and shapes on the painting’s surface, this is what I believe makes painting more “painterly”. I would compare this to the Socratic theory on the soul of an individual as a spiritual insight of philosophical knowledge. So, the soul is defined as a moral and intellectual awareness to what we know and what we try to understand. This can be achieved through self-evaluation. Applying this to my paintings, I would explain images as an evaluation of myself as a painter and they are used to create a specific communication in relation to others. The whole concept of making a painting is based on my reflections of a particular moment and how it influences the viewer and me. This would be like looking inside a soul by investigating a painting.

I am interested in reactions that viewers will have from paintings, and I expect viewers to be surprised by how much images control and cause anxiety. There is not one recipe for understanding painting, but there are many I can use to make it my passion.

Art by Bartosz Beda, One Side Other Side III

One Side Other Side III


Bartosz Beda, One Side Other Side III, 77 x 77cm, 2014

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

Studio International Magazine

Studio International Interview 29th July 2014

Studio International Magazine



Bartosz Beda: interview


Bartosz Beda is a rising star whose torrid paintings reflect social anxieties, with and a keen eye trained on the lessons of history. Beda distils and distorts images garnered through the media, giving them a new vocabulary of tension and threat with his adept handling of paint.

Since graduating from the Manchester School of Art, he has received numerous nominations for art prizes, winning the National Open Art Competition for the North of England in 2012. Beda was born in Poland, but now lives and works in the US. I spoke to him about finding his voice as an artist, the lure of paint and the future of painting in the digital age.

Emily Spicer: When did you first realise you wanted to be an artist?

Bartosz Beda: I was seven years old. My older brother was interested in drawing and painting so, as a little brother, I just wanted to follow him. Then, maybe after two years, my parents sent me to a professional teacher, who helped me to develop my drawing skills. Then I went to secondary school, which was a fine art school, so I learned to draw and paint in a traditional way.

ES: There has been a lot of criticism levelled at art schools in the UK for not teaching the basics of drawing and painting.

BB: I never went to an academy of art in Poland, but I know the teaching of art there is very traditional. Manchester School of Art was very open to ideas. It was more interested in developing my ideas than my skills. I can understand that people who go to school without those skills struggle to bring their ideas into their work, but if someone really wants to be good then they will be good anyway.

ES: You seem totally at ease with the technical side of painting, with manipulating colour and form.

BB: In a way, when I paint now I don’t think about it any more. I don’t think about how to paint a hand or a face or a figure, or what colours to use. I just do that spontaneously, and I’m actually more interested in deforming the painting. I’m interested in finding a kind of flatnessin colour or form, so it’s nothing to do with figurative painting, even if you can see a figure there; it’s primarily about erasing the focal point. I try to create limitless space, as Rothko did in his paintings. It’s more about experimenting. I don’t know where it will take me, but it’s good practice for something new.

ES: What are your main influences? What draws you to an object or theme?

BB: I’ve made a few paintings that are not based on any kind of image, but basically I start with images. Sometimes I use the same image over and over again and I’m not searching for anything new. Right now, I’m painting figures, and each painting is different, but I’m still using the same images I found a year ago.

ES: Where do those images come from?

BB: Because English is my second language, if I don’t know a word, I type it into Google. When you type a word and then type “definition”, Google tells you everything. It will explain little by little what a word means, and then I follow the next word and the next word and then I come to some more interesting things – words from Latin or some essays, and then I find the images and just search for those.

ES: You’ve done a new series of paintings called(Ras)Putin and Europa(nic). Can you explain a little about these pieces?

BB: Sometimes I watch the news from Poland. In January and February, there were many problems in Ukraine: in Poland, they were describing the political conditions in Ukraine from a different perspective from the rest of the EU, which inspired the title. Rasputin was a dark monk, a strange person who led a basic life. He warned the Tsar of Russia to do everything he could to avoid war. He said war would mean the end of the monarchy. In the end, Rasputin was murdered and became a legend in Russia. His assassination was a mystery, just like his life. He was a good adviser to the Tsar, but at the same time not really welcome. I link that to Putin, who has aspirations to act like a tsar. I’ve played with words a little bit to connect historical events to the present situation.

ES: The more you talk about your inspiration, the more apparent it is that language influences so much of your work.

BB: Right now, I think it is that way. I think that spoken or written words connect with painting and add importance. While I was studying for my BA and MA in Manchester, I was more involved in images. I was more concerned with finding images and painting them. Then I went to Dresden for a six-month residency. After three months, the professor came to my studio and told me one thing that I still remember: “I know you can paint, but when you go back to Manchester you have to show something new, something no one else has seen before.” I was thinking about it all the time and now I know he was right. When artists are doing the same thing all the time, people appreciate it, they like it, but at some point they start to hate it, too, because they stop finding anything exciting about it. So, after that, my idea was to keep my work exciting in a way. It’s not easy, but little by little my work has changed.

ES: The technique you use is impasto, where the paint is thickly applied like butter – you are scraping it and spreading it across the canvas. Is the materiality of the paint important to you, or is paint just a means to an end?

BB: I do apply the paint impasto. I like to have parts of the canvas where the paint is really thin, where you can almost see the primer, and other areas where the paint is very thickly applied. I also work wet on wet, so the paint mixes all the time. Sometimes, I want to prove to myself that I can still paint figures in a traditional sense, so I limit my palette to maybe two colours and sort of draw the figure into the painting and then, when I’ve proved to myself that I can still do it, I start to destroy the figure. So I’ll create something really realistic and then take it out little by little.

ES: Would you consider venturing into other mediums?

BB: No, I wouldn’t go to other mediums. I’d rather dedicate my time to painting. There was a time when I was searching for my perfect medium. I started in animation and worked with sculpture in a movie studio in Poland. When I was working on Peter and the Wolf, I was working with one of the main artists and she was making sculptures on a small scale, which I then scaled up. She liked my work a lot and said I should make a portfolio. She saw me as a sculptor.

ES: What made you leave animation?

BB: I’d always wanted to do painting. Working with sculpture was a final transition, it made me realise that painting was what I really wanted to do. Once I had decided that, I found an art school in Manchester. It had been my dream to study abroad since I was little. I always imagined myself as someone who was born in Poland but would live in other countries. That was something I wanted to do in my life. The EU opened up this wide variety of opportunities. I could go anywhere and work anywhere. I didn’t speak English, but I thought it would be easier to learn than German, so I thought, OK, I’ll go to England. I still struggle with languages. It is not easy for me. So language is something I’m still working on, and maybe recently that has influenced my work. First, words come into my mind, and that’s how I’m building my works. I put the words together and create things around them.

ES: You’ve mentioned Google and how it facilitated that process. How do you think painting is evolving under the influence of Google, and how will it continue to evolve in a digital age?

BB: I think at some point in the future, artists will start to move away from Google images and online resources. I think that was good maybe five, 10 years ago when Gerhard Richter developed this idea of using photographs. It was not a new idea, but he renewed it in a different way. Then Luc Tuymans and Wilhelm Sasnal began to use media sources, online sources and pictures from magazines, and other artists started to follow that trend and I followed it too. For my BA and MA, I was following those kinds of ideas, those ideas that someone had developed already. Now I’m trying to find my own vision of painting, to bring a new perspective to painting. This is a long process. We all copy and use the ideas of others and it’s not a bad thing. It is a process of learning, but right now I’m moving away from using images as sources.

I’m waiting for something to come along and change my work 180 degrees. I also follow emerging artists and how they develop their work. Some of them don’t change anything. Once they’ve found a market, they try to follow it. They feel that they’re secure, and that’s what I was saying at the beginning. People might like your work and appreciate it, but at some point they will hate it because they won’t find excitement in it any more. So I’m trying different things in painting and I’m trying to experiment all the time with paint.

ES: If you didn’t have Google or the internet, would you be spending a lot of time in the library leafing through dictionaries and art books?

BB: Actually, I do that anyway. For example, where I live in Idaho, they have big volumes of Studio International editions. There was a time when I was spending all my mornings in the library, two hours just reading or looking for images in Studio International. I did that before my solo show in Spain. Then I found the last printed version. I had this physical fact saying to me that this was the last copy and I thought: “Oh no, they’re not publishing them any more.” It never occurred to me that it existed online. It’s like painting, which is a transition between real life and what you imagine. Once a work leaves the studio, it’s living in a completely different world. For example, I don’t know what has happened to the paintings that have gone to collectors. I don’t know if they’re in a dark room where no one can see them, or whether they’re hanging on a wall somewhere. The fact that they are collected is a nice feeling, but at the same time I don’t know the reality of that painting after it leaves my studio. It is exciting too. The physical object is not with me any more, just like Studio International, but it’s nice that it still exists.

ES: You’ve talked about experimentation and looking for a new direction in your painting. Maybe America will bring out a different side to your work?

BB: I think that for sure. Change is always good, but at the beginning it creates a lot of expectation in people when you change place, when you change friends and when you start a new life. It is like you’re reborn a little bit, so maybe it takes time to see a different angle. By understanding what I want from painting, I will see a different side of my life and work. This is an interesting time, a gradual transition from old to new. I think that my time in America will bring new directions, new discoveries in painting. I am trying to acknowledge what I experience and how I can use that experience.

ES: What do you have planned for the next 12 months?

BB: That’s a good question. I’m exhibiting in a number of the international group shows. I also have a solo show in November this year at the Bogotá Arte Contemporáneo in Colombia, for which I’m slowly making a new body of work. I am very excited about that show, as it is a big and challenging space for my paintings. Right now, I am showing my work with BAC in a summer group show called Image of Emotion. In the near future, I would like to work with other galleries in Europe.

Derbyshire Life Magazine featured Bartosz Beda

Featured in Derbyshire Life Magazine

See the full PDF article here: New Mills Gallery features Bartosz Beda

That Lyn was planning to do things differently in New Mill was well sign-posted in her Studios Gallery opening show opening which included work by controversial art collector Charles Saatchi’s ‘New Sensation’ Bartosz Beda.

Debryshire Life Magazine, May 2014

Derbyshire Life Magazine featured Bartosz Beda

Derbyshire Life Magazine

Derbyshire Life Magazine featured Bartosz Beda

Derbyshire Life Magazine

Derbyshire Life Magazine featured Bartosz Beda

Derbyshire Life Magazine

Angel of Death II, bartosz beda paintings 2012

About: Hypostasis and Angel of Death

                        Click here to view all paintings.


Hypostasis and Angel of Death by Bartosz Beda

Hypostasis is the idea of opposed values in the evaluated society and the concept used by intellectual and religious culture. The word ‘Hypostasis’ has a metaphorical sense, which supports a fundamental reality of solid values and undefined ideologies.

Bartosz Beda, Hypostasis I, contemporary painting

Hypostasis I, oil on canvas, 30x24cm, 2012

The Hypostasis represents one from three persons of the Holy Trinity. As a factual recognition, I have chosen the representation of Jesus, as it can be recognized in any society. Despite the factual changes in the society, where our civilization is based on religious factors, this model and complexity of culture as a common value, can be considered as unity of something much bigger then the society we live in. I am not saying that Christianity is the best solution for our spiritual existence, but I am suggesting that it could be just a transition between spirituality and religion.

Christianity has changed the understanding of Hypostasis and closed the values only to the aspects of Holy Trinity. The illumination of Jesus portraits reflects unstable philosophy of contemporary spirituality in the social climate. This influence can be used to explore those ideas in the Angel of Death. As we know from history, this nickname was given to Dr. Mengele during the Second World War, because he was determining the life or death of many people in the Auschwitz camp. The events from history, created a representation of the Angel of Death in the person of Dr. Mengele. He was a personification of everything that we can call evil.

The relationship between the personification of the Angel of Death and Hypostasis is as strong as the failure of both concepts in practice. It means that there is a strong need for change in order to create a better existence. This change could occur in individual opinions through the application of experimental rules and values in a society. Changes appear through a compilation of events, which are visible in Hypostasis and in the personification of death.

The integration of what we accept as precious values, like for instance, democracy, is a result of changes in a society and is transformed from one variation to another. This term is supported by those physical principles and those are defined intellectually.

Both the Hypostasis and the Angel of Death have numerous interpretations and expressions, which vary by culture. This personification of death, as well as a definition of a Hypostasis, exists in every culture.