Jan Repa


                                                ARTIST STATEMENT

     Painting on glass is a centuries old tradition among the Highlanders of Southern Poland, especially in the Podhale region where I was born.  This technique involves painting an image in reverse, on the reverse side of the glass.

     My work incorporates this traditional folkloric technique and it’s accompanying traditional subject matter with an academic perspective. The combination creates a dichotomy of two realities.  The folk iconic elements includes Highlander legends, Christians beliefs, and the co-existence between people and nature.  The majority of my subject matter is influenced by mountain life traditions, and,  my life in America.  This folk essence permeates my artistic expression, but,  since leaving Zakopane/Poland,  I found this perspective to be too narrow.  Living in Chicago opened my mind to cultural diversity.  

     Painting on both sides of the glass represents the duality of my being.  The outside glass surface is an academic style using all values of light, shadow, and tonality - this is like the real and conscious mind.  This more solid realism contrasts with the graphic, folkloristic reverse glass painting style, which represents the past, subconscious mind.

     My way of painting is a reflection of my life, which is divided in two parts.  Both past and present co-exist in all of us in one form or another, and,  my art is an expression of this co-existence.