Roman Świderek’s Winnipeg: A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawings @ Woodlands Gallery, Winnipeg [from 10 March to 7 April]

Roman Świderek’s Winnipeg: A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawings

- 7
13:00 - 17:00

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Woodlands Gallery
535 Academy Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3N 0E2
Opening Reception: Saturday March 10th, 2018 – 1:00 to 4:00 PM. Artist in attendance.

Woodlands Gallery presents an unparalleled opportunity for Manitobans to observe a remarkable collection of original artworks by Winnipeg artist Roman Świderek.

Roman Świderek’s Winnipeg celebrates the devoted artist and his enduring civic pride. This special exhibition of his original paintings and drawings of Winnipeg, as well as his miniature watercolours of the West Coast, endeavors to expand Roman Świderek's legacy and honour his singular career.

Roman Świderek is renowned for his impressionistic scenes of Winnipeg and its iconic landmarks from past and present. For many Winnipeggers, images of Assiniboine Park, the Bridge Drive-Inn, The Forks and Morning Practice on the rink, conjure a familiar rhythm. Skillfully rendered in oils, these finely observed paintings frame Winnipeg through the past decades and present a view of our great city through the eyes of an exceptional artist.

Born in Poland, Roman Świderek began his career painting backdrops for the professional theatre group in his town, Lodz. His talents received early recognition and he refined his skills in a studio provided by his company. After immigrating to Canada, his artistic skills evolved while painting religious icons for churches, portraits of national leaders and set designs for theaters including Rainbow Stage, the Manitoba Theater Centre and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Several years later, Świderek founded his own company and designed for the fashion industry in Winnipeg including the Hudson’s Bay Company blanket division. He said, “I came here for a better life: to improve myself and my family,” and he did.

Roman Świderek’s original artwork can be found across Canada and abroad. Also widely recognized for his limited edition prints and art cards, reproductions of Świderek's original oil paintings are collected locally and sent around the world. The images serve as reminders of home and mementos of Manitoba.

A steadfast Winnipegger for almost 60 years, Roman Świderek finds himself liberated by the outdoors and embraces our notorious winters. For many years and with great passion, Świderek would dog sled with his huskies along his favourite Winnipeg feature, the Red River, enjoying the snow and the open sky above him. “It always amazed me that, here I was mushing dogs on the same river mentioned in Jack London’s books that I read as a child in Poland.”

While in Canada, the artist became an avid adventurer and explorer, painting scenes from northern Manitoba, to Victoria, and across the country to the east coast. One of Świderek’s favourite places to visit and paint were the Rocky Mountains. For thirteen years, Świderek travelled to the Columbia Icefields in spring and fall to paint and display his artwork. “In the spring I would visit, paint, and set up a show in the Icefields iconic red chalet. The majesty of the Rockies and the quiet and peacefulness of nature when off the beaten path, made those hours of painting seem but moments,” says Roman Świderek. His time in the Rockies ended when the Chalet was demolished to make way for a new building.

Shortly thereafter, the flood of the century was happening at home in Winnipeg. Moved to help his beloved city, Świderek created a series of watercolour paintings which were marketed in a calendar and fundraiser for Manitobans who were flooded from their homes. He raised over $100,000 for flood victims. The original paintings were purchased by Wawanesa Insurance and donated to the City of Winnipeg.

“I paint because I am compelled to do so,” says Świderek. He chooses his images carefully, painting landmarks and images of his city that people can recognize and relate to. With purpose, Roman Świderek crafts his work within a familiar tradition and has aimed his art at a common viewer. The works invite us to connect in the honesty and mutuality of his experience. Świderek’s paintings of Winnipeg begin with many plein-air studies. He will spend hours at the site drawing, getting a feel for the location and the activity of the area. In pencil, he sketches different perspectives and the small details of the buildings he will later paint. Sometimes he would thoroughly research a building, referring to historical details and the buildings origins. Like setting a stage, his paintings could take months to complete and together now, they form a monumental heritage.

Woodlands Gallery and Roman Świderek have a long history together. We have supported his career through the years by carrying his limited-edition reproductions and art cards. For those works, the commercial availability of his paintings will be a first; several of these original paintings have never been exhibited publicly or available for sale. This offering illustrates Świderek’s dedication to artistic excellence and serves as an inspiration and incentive for other Manitoban artists to follow.

We invite you to delight in Roman Świderek’s Winnipeg.

Please join us for the opening reception of Roman Świderek’s Winnipeg, Saturday March 10th, 2018 – 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. Artist in attendance. His paintings will remain on display through April 7th, 2018.
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