MORNING LIGHT Four of the oil paintings in Ian Wieczorek’s online exhibition, ‘One Day: 40 Sunrises’.
Sunrise is a phenomenon we are all familiar with, and regardless of geographic location or setting, it is an event that is infused with optimism and the possibility of new beginning. Such natural majesty can also serve as a reminder of our own fragility.
Live webcams linked directly to the internet have become increasingly available to access online, and it is now possible for the viewer to be remotely ‘present’ in many locations around the world. We can watch beaches at holiday destinations, take in cityscapes, or observe traffic, weather conditions or even volcanic activity throughout the day and night – unscripted, and experienced in real time.
We can ‘be’ there, travel the world through the screen of our laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Particularly in this Time of Covid, it might be regarded as a rather poignant ‘freedom’.
While we can access these webcams and their streamed output, we have no control over their positioning or viewpoint, or the quality or technical nature of the equipment used. The viewer is not in control, other than to choose which webcam to access.
Based on this freely available online opportunity, ‘One Day: 40 Sunrises’ presents the experience of sunrise on a particular day in various locations throughout the world, as experienced live through these webcams.
The locations were chosen to reflect as broad a geographical spread as possible. The paintings are based on real-time screenshots grabbed from online streaming, harvested from the internet on a randomly selected day, July 15, 2020, tracking sunrise around the globe. (The number 40 references ‘quarantine’, a word deriving from the Italian ‘quaranta giorni’ meaning ‘forty days’, the period that ships were required to be isolated before passengers and crew could go ashore in the time of a much earlier pandemic, the Black Death.)
The result is a mesmeric record of this transient experience over the course of one day, paintings of digitally mediated images rendered in the ‘traditional’ medium of oil on canvas. It celebrates the possibility of shared experience, and reminds us that, wherever we are in the world, we are all connected.
‘One Day: 40 Sunrises’ is reminiscent of earlier shows, like ‘Blurred Visions’ and ‘Out of the Electric Mist’, in which Wieczorek used images found on the internet – thumbnail images, CCTV footage, mobile-phone photos – to create atmospheric oil-on-canvas paintings. The artist has for many years been interested in digital technology and the immense volume of images we are exposed to daily. Much of his work has explored the increasing influence of digital technology in locating social and cultural identity, and the interconnectivities that underpin our everyday existence.
Originally from Chelmsford, outside London, Wieczorek worked as a laboratory scientist in a London NHS teaching hospital for 12 years before he decided to pursue a different, more creative path. Soon after moving to Mayo, he established and produced Arts West, an independent monthly arts magazine for Galway, Sligo and Mayo that ran from 1994 to 2000.
Since 2003 he has exhibited widely both in Ireland and internationally, with participation in group/curated shows in Northern Ireland, Germany, France, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, the US and China, as well as solo exhibitions in Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK and Czech Republic.
To view the ‘One Day: 40 Sunrises’, go to the artist’s website www.ianwieczorek.com. This show recieved a Covid-19 Crisis Response Award from The Arts Council.