WHO: Paul Ropel Morski
What: He is THE Quintessential Hamilton Artist
Exhibition Title: Big Sky
When: All of October, 2008
Where: Gallery on 4 at the Central branch of the Hamilton Public Library. Hours: 9-9 Monday-Thursday; 9-6 Fridays; 9-5 Saturdays; 1-5 Sundays
What Bryce Kanbara says about Paul Ropel Morski: Lives in Hamilton and makes paintings about the Near North, the North End, and the far act of painting.
What John Kinsella says about Paul Ropel Morski:
PAUL ROPEL-MORSKI was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1961. He received an Honors B.A. in Art and Art History from McMaster University in 1986.
Ropel-Morski has been an unstoppable force on the Hamilton arts scene for the past 20 years. He has been an active artist and a pro-active arts activist dating back to his university days. In 1985 Ropel-Morski, along with a handful of others, instigated and inaugurated the ‘Third Space’ gallery at the Hamilton Artists Inc. He was a founding member of the Contemporaries, a floating group of seven hardcore Hamilton artists who rocked the scene from 1987 to 1995. Ropel-Morski was a vocal community member rallying to protest at City Hall against the proposed removal of the ‘Workers Memorial’ sculpture on the corner of Bay and Main Streets.
Ropel-Morski’s belief in and commitment to the arts community in Hamilton, along with his ‘no bullshit’ approach and ‘get it done’ attitude made him the obvious choice
for president (1994-1999) and vice-president (2003-2007) of the Hamilton Artists Inc. In 2006, he organized a mammoth three-part exhibition of the work of Hamilton artist and dear friend, Ferdinando Bilanzola. The Carnegie Gallery, Dundas, the Art Gallery of Hamilton and the Hamilton Artists Inc. participated in this posthumous celebration of Bilanzola’s art and life. This initiative successfully united the arts community in a way never before seen in Hamilton’s history. It was a proud moment for all parties involved and for the Hamilton region artist’s community. Most recently, Paul was instrumental in securing the building that is now the new home of the Hamilton Artists Inc. This building is a great legacy for the strong and vibrant artist community of Hamilton.
Ropel-Morski’s exhibition history is extensive, spanning 20 years. He has shown his work throughout Hamilton, Dundas, Grimsby, Burlington and Toronto. He lives and breathes painting. If you study the man you will find the painter and if you study the paintings you will find the man. With broad, gestural brush marks and generous application of paint, Ropel-Morski imbues all his works with a visceral urgency and a sensual lyracism. His work is poetic in essence and true to the artist’s heart. He pursues a personal expressionism that allows us all to see into the life of the artist. Ropel-Morski’s body of work over the last 20 years can be read as a journey of discovery, a diary, that allows us to share in the artist’s experiences. In the ‘Big Sky’ exhibition, the viewers are graced with a selection of paintings that thrill, with splashes of rich colour and expressive marks that capture the grandeur and ephemeral qualities of the northern Ontario landscape. In the painting ‘Big Sky’ the imagery is fragmented and overlaid, to combine a sense of place with the artist’s own emotional experience of the landscape. It doesn’t capture a moment in time – it is poetic and timeless.
John Kinsella, September 2008
From Paul Lisson
Fine Arts Librarian