Final Exhibition – Links to You Tube

In negotiation with Aristotle, I have uploaded all finished video pieces onto You Tube. The next task will be to connect them to our exhibition platform according to the design below:


New Ideas for the Design of My Final Show

I have created two plans for the arrangement of my work in preparation for the final show.

The 5 central pieces indicate video projections. My paintings are displayed on both sides and organised in their chronological order of research and production.

I shared the following thoughts and reflections with the group:

‘Having carefully considered many different options, I have made a conscious decision to use a website-like display for my exhibition.

This is to ensure clarity, aesthetics and sophistication of my visual communication without any distractions, additions and unnecessary decorations.
I would like to avoid, at all cost, the form overgrowing the meaning.

I am inspired by the design and organisation of presentation offered by platforms like Instagram and

I would like to present my research project using a white page with a grid of ‘windows’ representing individual paintings and videos. Viewers will be able to click on each individual piece to open it up and view larger details in a pop-up window. My video pieces will play exactly in the same way – when enlarged.’

The more refined thinking is as follows:

‘I have copied an idea into my folder on google drive. All images are of identical heights, and are equally spaced, probably further apart than indicated on my design. Central pieces are video projections, and my paintings are on both sides. They are arranged in the chronological order of creation. Their sequence may be slightly altered.’

Refined version of proposal covers 7 paintings, 5 videos and 5 final images:

This is an earlier version showing some technical glitches and inconsistencies:

Planning and thinking:

My Portfolio

Pav Szymanski


I am a fine art painter with 30 years of experience.  I have spent my life travelling and recording human existence in the most distant and exotic locations in 99 countries.  ​

My project is a metaphorical attempt to formulate a response to my observations of people, who are entrapped in waiting, while being suspended in the vacuum of hypnotic repetition. I have gathered substantial primary sources and evidence from destinations across the globe. Perhaps, the most significant research findings were from Haiti and Myanmar and resulted in the production of the most spectacular paintings.  They have inspired me to develop new and innovative ways of working and experimenting with image making, which are appropriate to the subject.  They combine the best of traditional achievements and the power of contemporary thinking and deep reflection.

I work full time as a programme coordinator for Art & Design at a large institution offering a broad range of FE and HE qualifications.  I am also an external examiner for the UAL and AQA.

Artist Statement:

Through my projects I feel that I discover my inner fears, longings and re-evaluate my uncertainties. My work seems to be an attempt to explore and question by metaphorical presentation my response to the hidden truths of the world. The essence of the value of these works is in their inherent meaning and an atmosphere, which manifests itself in the dusk of the space portrayed, thus the light may appear, where the hue of colour fulfils clarity and sounds with harmonious melody.

1.    Masquerade

5-minute video

This video pieces covers a summary and visual outcome of my research, practicalexperimentation and analysis, which I have develop in consequence to my investigation into hypnotic repetition over the last few years.

My work is about an attempt to develop a visual response.  In contradiction to logic, opportunities arise in life to break the mundane phenomenon of entrapment and never-changing routine.

Perhaps, with increased sensitivity of observation, we would be able to free ourselves from this ballast and seek other endeavours and experiences to continue to make progress, develop and flourish.

This crazy pirouette continues forever. One broken cycle leads to another entrapment. New becomes old almost instantly. One fulfilment unexpectantly turns into a disaster and we remain unsatisfied, while travelling on a piece of rock through space – paradoxically, entrapped in a hope that the final destination is anything but death!

However, with great and vulgar arrogance, we continue to refuse to accept that nothing lasts forever and everything will turn into dust.

Dust and darkness (sic!)

2.    One-Legged Pool Player

The One-Legged Player is totally on the task. Her appearance looks frivolous and theatrical to distract from her determination and the fact that she cannot afford to miss any shots. Her outwards image portrays glamour and fame, but the reality is diametrically different.
The One-Legged Player is frozen in a stretched position, suspended in the vacuum of repetition. Every shot is executed in an identical posed pose in a hope to attract attention and increase the stakes, hence maximise profits.
I am hesitant to come to conclusions that there is something repulsive about it. The first impressions of wonder and curiosity are replaced with laughter and astonishment.  The performance continues regardless.

Mixed media on canvas

180 X 110

3.    Coach to Myiek

This piece portrays a coach driver. He is preparing to leave Kawthoung for a 20-hour long journey to Myiek. The road is terrible and unpredictable. His old coach must be in a top condition before the passengers are allowed to board.
The driver looks very tired and substantially overweight. He spends his life driving his coach between those two distant cities in Myanmar.  Mixed media on board, A1 size

4.    Burmese Captain

This work portrays a Burmese captain in charge of a long boat. His job is to transport people and cargo from Ranong in Thailand to Kawthoung at the furthest southern point of Myanmar. His main clientele are poor illegal workers from Burma trying to earn a few baht in Thailand.
Following a long conversation with him, I become one of his passengers. To maximise income, he accepts as many people as possible. He even travels on the very front of the boat to save valuable space. This place is very uncomfortable and rocky. He is also fully exposed there to the power of the tropical sun. He tries to get some relief from the burning heat by hiding under a colourful umbrella.
The image is very clashing in colour – very kitsch. This is further enhanced by his crude and cramped body position.  His ankle reveals a massive tumour.
There is a gigantic growth on his leg, perhaps caused by prolonged exposure to the sun and continued contact with polluted water in the port.
My creative intention was to portray him in his usual setting, while crossing the same water many times every day.
The focus is on him. The beautiful surroundings no longer matter. He cannot see the landscape. He is trapped in his daily routine.
The colour of his shirt blends in with the orange stripes of paint on the boat. The umbrella is feminine and looks absolutely ridiculous.

Mixed media on marine matt

A1 size

5.    Three Monks Begging

Mixed media on unprimed canvas.
168 cm x 118 cm

This new piece portrays three Burmese monks taking a break from their money collecting duties, while entertaining themselves with a large group of pigeons.
In the area, there were large numbers of child monks present. Most of their days are spend extorting large amounts of cash from the hard working, fearful and deeply religious market community.
They are immaculately dressed in pink robes and sarongs. Simultaneously, they walk bare foot to project an image of poverty and humbleness.
However, the truth is different. They have got daily targets to fill their metals trays with a mixture of coins and bank notes to satisfy the needs and expectations of their superiors.

mixed media on two joined canvases

Size: (w) 60cm; (h) 85cm

This is a portrait of a young, beautiful and idyllic-looking Haitian girl playing with butterflies. I met her during my travels through Haiti, where most people survive on less than 1$ per day.

She is totally oblivious of her origin.

She does not understand, why she is consistently ostracised and bullied. Her skin is white, and her eyes are baby blue. She definitively stands out!

She has never heard of Poland. Her home is on a little island called Petit Goave.

She is a descendent of Polish legionnaires, who were sent to Haiti by Napoleon to suppress an uprising of slaves. However, having realised the extent of exploration and abuse, the Poles changed sides and fought in support of the oppressed indigenous people. Subsequently, most of them were punished and slaughtered. A few lucky ones managed to disperse to the islands.

mixed media on board

Size: (w) 60cm; (h) 85cm

This is a portrait of a young Haitian girl called Palenque. She is heavily disabled.  Her arms are distorted and twisted. She is in constant pain.

Today, she is celebrating her 16th birthday.  Her eyes are full of joy and spark of life, and she smiles beautifully.

She is totally overwhelmed by an unexpected present from a stranger – a mobile phone.

5. Punhana

mixed media on board

Punhane, in Azeri, means ‘secret’. I have got to know her quite well. She was diligent, perceptive and intuitive. She made a very positive impression on me. Her outgoing personality was enhanced by a very natural look, reserved and introvert personality and beautiful young face with long hair and no makeup. 

Revealing her deepest secret could cost her life.

She is Armenian.  Since the war, both countries are filled with hatred towards each other.

6. Thai Masseur

mixed media on stretched canvas

Size: (w) 116cm; (h) 184cm

This is a portrait of a single mum of three.  She originates from a poor village in the North.  Her new life is in Pattaya.  Before the pandemic, her days were very monotonous and repetitive.  She used to work 17-hour long days as a masseur.  Now, in lockdown, her shop is closed.  She dreams about returning to her previous life and the former status quo.

mixed media on terrycloth, A1

Pearl Twink lives in Lagos, Nigeria.  She is transsexual. She fears for her life and her sexuality is her biggest secret. She is a fashion icon. The piece tries to question the presumption within our prejudice and allows us to understand the contradictory point of view – the opposite perspective.  Therefore, forcing us to confront and reflect on our own behaviour in the context of making judgements without thinking and appropriate analysis. We simply devalue the status of a person from a different culture.  Labelling and categorising removes individuality and creates a climate for a lack of our responsibility towards them.

Dialogue with Pearl Twink (with sound)

41-second video piece



Considerations for My Final Exhibition

Having carefully considered many different options, I have made a conscious decision to use a website-like display for my exhibition.

This is to ensure clarity, aesthetics and sophistication of my visual communication without any distractions, additions and unnecessary decorations.
I would like to avoid, at all cost, the form overgrowing the meaning.

I am inspired by the design and organisation of presentation offered by platforms, such as Instagram and

I would like to present my research project using a white page with a grid of ‘windows’ representing individual paintings and videos. Viewers will be able to click on each individual piece to open it up and view larger details in a pop-up window. My video pieces will play exactly in the same way – when enlarged.

I have identified all paintings and three videos, which I will include in the display.

The recording for my final video will take place this weekend.

Final Evaluation – Initial Draft

I have started to draft my final evaluation. My decision is to initially review my progress on the course. This summary will be refined and developed further through further drafts, progress maps and charts. Subsequently, I will attempt to assess the impact of the current pandemic on both my project and thinking. I will look at how lockdown, social distancing and isolation have redefined the meaning of some of the key concepts that I have been researching and analysing. Waiting in the context of hypnotic repetition has changed its depth, intensity and connotations. There is a significant clash between how we embrace these ideas in the post crisis world.

To take a break from the internet and my online existence, I have started to draw up some preliminary thoughts using pan and paper – how refreshing!

The cumulative part of this document will consider the relationship between my learning and growth and my personal and professional development in the post MA environment. I will attempt to go beyond composing an immediate action plan. Hopefully, I will be able to continue to evolve my focus and expand on my research base through the prearranged trip to Madagascar this summer.

I will also reflect on the opportunities, which were created by an unexpected shift from the physicality of a material exhibition to something, which is hidden in a digital space. I would like for my online show to be a metaphor for poetry and music. They are not permanent and do not have dimensions and weight. They exist in totally different spheres of our lives and existence. These are called consciousness and soul.

Reflections on the Final Show

I have researched and tested a great number of possible platforms for the final show. Unfortunately, I have found them quite disappointing. The most common concept is to based on echoing a feeling of a physical gallery. Frequently, the software is very slow and clumsy in operation. Additionally, the overall effect is more focused on the look of the space rather than the work itself. Art becomes somehow secondary to the meaningless decorations and textures of walls, ceiling and the lighting.

The most popular online gallery is and is best for streaming 3D work.

Other options, which are worth investigating are:

Alternatively, I have considered using a website, which is similar in design to

I really like the simplicity, effectiveness and freshness of the front page. There is a grid of large block images, which is inviting and very clear. This website is able to accommodate a broad range of artefacts, including gifs files and video work. Photography on display is relatively high resolution and organised with order and structure.

Our group meets in Zoom on a regular bases to discuss possibilities for arranging the exhibition. All students are very proud and would like to present their research projects to the best of the abilities. Likely, Aristotle, who is one of our students, has offered to help everyone and donated both, his time and the use of his original software.

In preparation for my exhibition, I have carefully considered a range of ideas. My main intention is to make sure that the way, in which my work is displays reinforces its meaning. I would like to avoid using any unnecessary gimmicks and distractions.

In these unprecedented times, it is quite strange for a painter to accept that the final exhibition will not have a physical dimension. Frankly, I am saddened and overwhelmed by a lack of reality it terms of the experience of true colour, texture and painterly mastery of strokes. However, an artist and creative individual needs to seek opportunities in overcoming obstacles. Therefore, my intention is to excel myself and make the online exhibition even better, more refined and sophisticated. I would like for this to be a new learning curve full of controlled happy accidents, experimentation and deep reflection of what is appropriate in term of visual communication – my chosen language of expression.

The digital approach creates a new chance to experiment with a ‘space’, which supports and reinforces my messages in cohesion to deliver a holistic poetry about my painterly and video work.

Currently, I am planing for a long wall with three parallel and simultaneous video projections. This number can be possibly extended to four. I am in the process of working on a painting titled ‘Ravens and Crows Will Peck Us to Pieces’. It is quite likely that I will make sufficient progress to video another washing cycle. This image is different to portraiture. Therefore, I was relatively hesitant to include this image. However, on reflection, it summarises my overall responses to my research findings in a time of lockdown and social isolation. We are all subjected to mortality, vulnerable and fragile. The end of our journey is the only certainty in our lives. Death is the culmination of our waiting, while being suspended in the vacuum of hypnotic repetition.

The side walls of the gallery will be dedicated to the display of the actual paintings. I should be able to exhibit between 8 and 10 canvasses.

It is all very exciting!


Friday, 20th March 2020 at 9.30 with Jonathan Kearney.

Notes from Skype Tutorial with Jonathan Kearney.
Friday, 20th March 2020 at 9.30

This was a very unusual tutorial. It was a very personal and untypically long deep conversation in definitely extraordinary circumstances. We were both deeply concerned about a continuously expanding pandemic and all its brutal implications on all contexts of our life.

The current situation is unprecedented and overwhelming. It has an enormous impact on all aspects of our existence. Therefore, it would be at least arrogant to assume that I had no radical influence on my creative intentions and the direction of my visual interrogation.

I have explained to Jonathan the sensitivities involved in my research journey so far. Subsequently, we discussed the sudden and unexpected turn in my project, which is deeply routed in the power of the Coronavirus.

All previously taken for granted status quo had to be refined and re-evaluated. This process continues and builds up on speed. The certainty of the past has become the opposite, possibly the most uncertain. Right has changed to wrong and vice versa. The world as we know it has been turned upside down and brutally destroyed. This overpowering situation has a pivotal impact on the way, in which we live and perceive the surrounding Universe. This radical change has vulgarly and violently twisted every context and area of our inhabitation of the Earth.

My current observation is that people around the world are anxiously waiting for the return to their old hypnotic routines. They beg for entrapment and look forward to going back to their previous existence.

Subsequently, we have focused on discussing the impact of this global crisis on our final show and the arts in general. The main issue is to rethink how to display the work in a virtual environment. The idea is to try to reinforce the meaning of the project. My biggest worry was to avoid diluting my intentions and messages.

I explained to Jonathan that I would not like for the form to unnecessarily overgrow the broader meaning of my visual investigation. We continued to elaborate on a number of possibilities. Jonathan suggested that I should consider editing my films together to create an entirely new piece. Therefore, I would take my current work to a completely new level. I argued that I was attempting to avoid producing a media film, rather than a video artefact. This part of our debate was very stimulating and thought provoking. I made a number of notes – a photograph of this page in my sketchbook is included at the top of this post.

Finally, I pointed out at an exhibition of work by Emily Prince, which I saw at the Saatchi Gallery. She dealt with a visual portrayal and organisation of a large sample of data. Her drawings were colour coded, structured and displayed in two separate formats: daily columns of deaths and the map of the USA indicating the origin of killed soldiers.

Emily Prince – American Servicemen and Women… – Saatchi Gallery Project Room – London – 7 January – 7 May 2011

I could employ a similar approach and continue filming the process of washing of my paintings. This would result in a large projection split into a large number of individual screens.

I also referred to the painstaking and methodical approach employed by Roman Opalka. He photographed himself every day for 45 years, while wearing the same shirt and and holding identical facial expression. This was in addition to the series of his Counted Paintings, from 0 to infinity. I included his quote as his words are of a special significance today.

Roman Opalka, 1965 – infinity, Self-Portrait


Roman Opalka (1931-2011)

“Time as we live it and as we create it embodies our progressive disappearance; we are at the same time alive and in the face of death–that is the mystery of all living beings. The consciousness of this inevitable disappearance broadens our experiences without diminishing our joy. There is always the omnipresent idea of nature, of its ebb and flow of life. This essence of reality can be universally understood; it is not only mine but can be commonly shared in our unus mundus.”

Roman Opalka – “Rencontre par la séparation”, AFAA, Paris, 1987

My ultimate plan is to project three videos. Additionally, I would also like to restreatch the washed paintings onto their original frames and include them in my exhibition.

However, in response to the rapidly evolving and changing global crisis, I have decided to continue to evolve my ideas. My ultimate creative intention is to formulate a response, which is the most current, insightful and communicate the intrinsic qualities of my work and thinking.

I am focusing on the development of work with a strong feel of the zeitgeist. This is to elevate my role as an artist and to respond to the current issues, which affect our society in a dramatic and powerful way. I would like for my work to be an intelligent, though provoking and erudite comment. My pieces are the leader of critical analysis of reality. They point at and identify new ways of embracing our fragile lives in the context of devastating change. I am an observer of our history being made out there, here and now!

After all, we are travelling through space on a piece of rock; simultaneously spinning around and rotating at a great speed. Our existence is bizarre and impossible to imagine for an outsider.

Let’s hope that our journey is allowed to continue, develop, prosper and flourish!

Tutorial ended at 11.20

Relationship With My Own Work

As a part of preparation for presentations of research, I received an email form Alexis with a request. He was asking for a considered response to the following question:

What is the nature of your relationship with one of your art pieces?

This prompted a long process of reflection on the essence of my current practice.  I looked at my original artist statement and reviewed various versions of my project proposals.  My objective was to create a map of progress, while questioning what I was trying to achieve in my visual work.  It was a bizarre form of self-appraisal of own creative intentions with references to the use of formal elements and the overall visual language.   I have also tried to interrogate the nature of relationship with my paintings.  Subsequently, I have learned that my bond with my work depends on the impact of an emotional rapport with people, who I met during my travels.  It very much depends on my reflections on encounters with humans, who are trapped in vacuum of their overwhelming routines and repetitive environments.  These experiences resulted these people becoming the main characters in my paintings.


My reply was as follows:

Through my projects I feel that I discover my inner fears, longings and re-evaluate my uncertainties. My work seems to be an attempt to explore and question by metaphorical presentation my response to the hidden truths of the world. The essence of the value of these works is in their inherent meaning and an atmosphere, which manifests itself in the dusk of the space portrayed, thus the light may appear, where the hue of colour fulfils clarity and sounds with harmonious melody.

I paint people, who I have met during my travels. They are always of a special significance to me. Therefore, my work is an emotional appraisal of my encounters with them.


Alexis responded with a thought-provoking and intriguing statement:

“Thank you so much for your response and insight into your work. It is very interesting and I shall think on it. What you say opens out onto a world of ideas and questions.”

Current Map of Progress.

Today, we had the last Skype meeting before Christmas. We were introduced to the new brief, which is full of exciting challenges. I am very motivated and committed to producing a body of exploratory work and questioning my creative intentions with reference to their meaning, sophistication of my concepts and the overall use of the visual language in my projects. I really appreciate the life-changing impact of this course and am very eager to realise my full potential, while investigating new possibilities and discussing alternatives through risk taking and further experimentation.

In the light of both, my recent written feedback and the requirements of Unit 2, I have decided to seriously reconsider the direction of my research journey and create an updated map of progress. The diagrammatic format of this chart gives me a clear overviewed my current position.

I have also worked hard to design a solid structure to my presentation for the forthcoming symposium. Participation in this event is a requirement of the assessment. However, I would also like to maximise all benefits from this process and, in turn, enrich my visual practice through both, insightful feedback and the experience of preparing for and presenting work to an important, visually trained and sensitive audience. The entire process can be crucial in my continuous search for identifying meaningful quality improvements and building on the overall awareness of self perception, quality of thinking, critical analysis and art work.


I have used, in my experimentation, a domestic washing machine before. I employed this kind of intervention during my work on the Dialogue with Pearl Twink series.

My ideas were independently developed and had no resemblance to Steve Pippin’s projects. However, I have seen his fascinating work before and was particularly intrigued by his ‘death of the camera’ and locomotion pieces.

To understand his thinking better, I have just completed reading of his 1999 book. This has led to a range of reflections and, subsequently, interesting conclusions.

I would also like to experiment with video recording in a comercial laundrette setting. My creative intention is, however, to create a moving image of the washing cycle of my paintings using a number of large scale washing machines set in a line.

There is something special about watching a machine continuously spinning – just a perfect example of hypnotic repetition. This, coupled with a great uncertainty of what will be left from the paintings after this process is completed.

Washing and it’s metaphorical meaning is ideal in terms of making progress with my thinking and the development of new ideas.

In order to make it happen, I will need to prepare a range of new images on un-stretched materials in readiness for the performance.

Theatre of Washing – a busy Saturday morning would be an ideal time for this type of video recording. More progress planning and reflection will need to take place, before I am in a position to make my new idea to materialise.

I am hoping to record several simultaneously spinning washing machines, the loading and unloading process, the long cycle of hypnotic repetition… accidental participation of additional character (people using the facility at the same time) should increase the authenticity of this undertaking and extend on the narrative.

Ultimately, the value of my of my previous and time consuming painting will be reduced to dirty underwear. Sounds great!


Pippin, S. (1999) Laundromat – Locomotion: An Artists’ Book; London: Verlag der Kunst

Tutorial With Jonathan.

Tutorial with Jonathan Kearney

Thursday, 20th June 2019 at 9.30.  Skype call.

I have proposed a number of new ideas and possibilities for further investigation.  The main intention is to give my project a refreshed purpose and redefine my objectives. I feel that the current possibilities of using the water jet are partially repetitive and exhausted.

I have done a lot of thinking about the forthcoming trip to Burma.  I would like to use this opportunity to gather a new wealth of primary sources for further refinement and development for my project.  I am committed to the overall title: ‘Waiting.  the Uncertainties of Tomorrow.’

The key ideas are as follows:

  •  Photograph people ‘at work’ killing time and playing on their mobile phones, while waiting for the next customer.  Look for potential sources, interview and record street sellers, groups of masseurs outside parlours, beggars and touts in bus stations.
  • Research the time spent waiting for the ‘next’ customer.
  • Hanging about waiting for time to pass.
  • Waiting in anticipation versus disappointment and rejection.
  • Collect relevant fabrics and materials for future paintings.  This would increase their authenticity by adding the element of the primary truth to my work.
  • Replace the water jet with other forms of ‘washing’ images using for instance a washing machine.
  • Triangulate the data by interviewing people in a variety of contexts, the rich and the poor.

Jonathan asked me questions about the jetting process.  He was interested in the decision making process behind the blasting of paintings.  How and when do I know that this is sufficient, completed and finished?  This is a very instinctive and spontaneous response to watching my work being simply washed away.  It is born out of fear and pity to see my work disaster and simply dribble down the drain.

We followed by discussing the washing process.  Jonathan suggested that I should explore the metaphorical meaning of ‘washing’.  He added that use of a washing machine would also gives me less control over the entire process – stone washing, tie and dye, washing with chemicals or just with water, long versus short wash. Jonathan concluded that this should be a very natural process of gathering information for me.

I have completed a substantial draft of my research statement.  I have worked really hard in order to make good progress with this as most of my summer vacation will be consumed by the Myanmar field trip and associated visual research.  I expressed some anxieties about the fact that I am unsure if my work is at the required level.  Jonathan has kindly asked me to email him my current written work before next Tuesday.  I am very grateful to get this additional opportunity to receive feedback about my research statement to maximise possibilities for the successful completion of this assignment.

Following Jonathan’s suggestions, I plan to undertake a critical review of progress and blog entries at key stages of progress and development – reflection ‘in action’ and reflection ‘on action’.

Mind-mapping of ‘WASHING’ with highlighted key ideas.