One of the basic instructions given every artist is to "paint what you know" and no one knows the sea like Marek Sarba. In the tradition of the great blue water sailors turned painters, Charles Robert Patterson and John Chancellor, Polish born artist Marek Sarba paints the mystical power and beauty of the sea with a passion that only first-hand experience could produce. Having served in the Polish Navy for three years (where, in addition to his regular duties, he was the official artist of the Navy newsletter), he then worked as chief electrician in the world-famous Gdansk Shipyard before heading to sea for another 1.5 years on a variety of tankers, ice breakers, bulk carriers and huge oceangoing salvage tugs--towing disabled ships from ports-of call over the world back to the scrap yards in Poland.
Much of this time he would average 300 days a year at sea thirstily drinking in all the impressions of the sea that have gone into characterizing his dynamic work. The other 65 days a year he spent ashore in every major port of call in the world pursuing his other passion, a career in art. While his fellow sailors visited bars, he frequented the important museums of the world soaking in the work of the great masters. All these years he was painting, even aboard ships where he learned to contend with severe rocking motion and the vibration of the powerful diesel engines. In 1981, shortly before the imposition of martial law in Poland, he left his native land with his wife and two teenage daughters to begin a new life in the United States.
Today, with the same courage and resolve it takes to spend weeks and months pounding through mountainous seas, miles and miles from any human habitation, Marek's paintings bring us face to face with the ocean and all of its majestic power and glory. Through his work we not only sense the beauty of the sea but also the almost religious awe it can inspire in the rugged individuals who spend their life' battling its elemental power.
Marek's extraordinary paintings came to our attention first in 1984, and he has been a regular in the Gallery ever since. His work has also been exhibited throughout Poland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and in the Annual American Society of Marine Artists Exhibition. Painting in the manner of great European painters, Marek uses layers and layers of glazes to create compelling statements of the sea and man's relationship to it.
Russell Jinishian - jrusselljinishiangallery.com
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