Gosha Karpowicz


The White Series #XIV

from Slow Art


from The Four Seasons

Gosha Karpowicz participated in Slow Art in Fall 2019 and The Four Seasons in Spring 2017 at Village West.

I was born and grew up in Milanowek, Poland, outside Warsaw. My father was a professor of agriculture and my mother was an art teacher. I spent my time outside of school roaming the deep forests and endless fields, studying bees and flowers and all the nature exploding around me. I was fascinated by growth and decay, life and death. I wanted to understand when things began, how they changed, why they ended. In high school, I studied philosophy and majored in biology and chemistry. I surrendered myself to books and microscopes until one day in the meadows I was so moved by the cool reds and the warm reds that I felt compelled to paint the scene. It was the only way I could understand what was in front of me. I began to paint the world.

When I was nineteen, I chose formal training and studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.

Even at a state-sponsored institution, I had almost no access to the Western art world. Very few Poles did. That's because an article of faith in our country and the entire Communist bloc was that art served a purpose and had a political agenda. Bursts of vivid colors and strange shapes that ignited the imagination and challenged the viewer to see the world in a different way, I realized much later, represented a threat to the very basis of Communism. Those images represented freedom.

The little Western art I did see made me suspect that there was a different world outside my country's borders. I wanted to see it, to be part of it.

It was only when I stood in London, looking at a Turner painting, and in Paris, nearly drowning in a Van Gogh exhibit, that I saw how inadequate the approximations of color I had seen before. In both cities, in different museums, I looked at those colors and I felt things I didn't even understand, and I wept.

I arrived in 1981, a political refugee with a large portfolio of my work from Poland, and virtually no understanding of the English language.

A stranger in a strange land, I questioned my decision every day—until Parsons granted me a full scholarship to study art. It was there that I met my teachers, Sean Scully, and Jackie Brookner, loving and important mentors.

More information on Karpowicz and her work can be found at goshakarpowiczart.com.


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