Andrew Topolski (1952-2008 ), Untitled, undated; mixed media and watercolor, 9 x 12 inches; Estate of Andrew Topolski
Enjambment: Andrew Topolski
On View Friday, July 12–Sunday, September 15, 2013
Enjambment: The continuation of a thought from one line, couplet, or stanza to the next without a syntactical break.
Enjambment, an exhibition of a recent acquisition of work by Andrew Topolski, explores the artist’s systematic process of reinterpreting symbols of various disciplines, always moving from one idea-one language-to another. Using materials from architecture, science, music, journalism and pop culture, Topolski’s work invades, assaults, the sanctity of languages, always driven by his politics. The results are complex and capacious.
Andrew Topolski began creating his own private symbols to interpret sound at a very early age. As a child he suffered a severe stutter. His father taught and encouraged him to draw, and thus he began his use of drawing as a means of communication. His skills matured quickly, and he developed a unique ability to discover and utilize an array of meanings in his imagery. He fortified his drafting skills while still in high school where he began his art studies, but he also had a keen interest in the symbolic language of chemistry, physics, engineering, and music.
Topolski defined his art as” Intermedia.” Intermedia happens between the lines. It incorporates more than one medium or discipline, becoming a single work that combines elements of each. Most importantly, it stands alone as a single work of art. The artist first began this process in 1977 when he co-founded the East Buffalo Media Association during his tenure as curator at the Polish Community Center. The EBMA consisted of composers, musicians, writers, sculptors and video artists who met regularly to perform and discuss art and specifically Intermedia usually over drinks at the Dom Polski Center Bar, located in the Polish Community Center. The term Enjambment was tossed around as the regular practice, much in the spirit of fluxus type happenings. It is here that Topolski begins expressing his viewpoint. His objective was a type of harmony or pleasing effect that was produced by an arrangement of materials, most notably the literal and the visual.
Topolski’s use of images for communication and his formal training in music combined with his love of architecture and science. He was constantly in search of harmony, often relating the development of his work to that of composer. Finding multiple meanings in visual materials and erasing restrictions is at the heart of his aesthetic. Symbols would lose their natural place of origin and find their way into unexpected combinations in sculptures and drawings, creating a most distinctive language. It was a practice he followed throughout his career.
The images in this exhibition demonstrate his manner of composition. Numerous materials find their way into a work of art, yet when placed in context with other work, form an opinion or philosophy. Further, his extension of a common image such as a piano keyboard bending into and out of a series of architectural statements creates the idea of a desired harmony.
—Don Metz, associate director, Burchfield Penney Art Center and curator of the exhibition