OUT OF THE SHADOWS
By Rebecca Pikus
Alexander Koleszar is indeed a commanding figure — his intense artist’s gaze is softened by his friendly, generous smile. He is a painter in the tradition of Dali & Magrite.
Alexander (Alex) grew up in Michigan where early on he showed a great talent and passion for painting. He completed 30 oil canvases from age 11 through 14, & his art was exhibited at Birmingham Michigan’s City Hall when he was in the 7th grade. But as children can sometimes be cruel, Alex was taunted for his creativity & began to mask his interest in painting to avoid further negative attention. 20 years later, in the midst of the AIDS epidemic, Koleszar witnessed most of his friends at the time become ill and die. He found himself at a personal crisis point in his own life — and as part of his physical and emotional recovery, he made a personal commitment to rededicate himself to his lost passion of working as an artist.
In his first year of returning back to painting, Alex concentrated on works that reflected the AIDS crisis surrounding him & claiming so many of his friends’ lives. One of his paintings came to the attention of a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum. In 1992 the curator displayed Alex’s work in observance of “A Week Without Art” starting on Dec. 1 – World AIDS Day. The painting, “Returning Home” was one of only two works of art selected for that event.
In spite of the quick recognition of Koleszar’s talent, he made the decision in 1994 to become firmly grounded in classical painting & drawing techniques. He studied with a classical painting tutor, Dutch-born L.A. artist Deny Ponty and a classical drawing tutor, Margaret Caldwell. Alex proceeded to continue painting to build up a cohesive body of work. From 1996-1999 he was again invited to exhibit artwork at the Los Angeles County Museum’s Art Rental & Sales Gallery. He was tagged as a “New & Emerging Artist” and was invited to participate in a Biennale in Florence, Italy. Alex began to have collectors from across the United States and Europe.
Koleszar is by no means timid to deal with critical issues. In addition to his 9/11 painting, his portfolio contains works of art in response to the Enron scandal (“The Great Leveler”) and the rush to war during the Bush Administration (“Bosch Americana”). He has created art in response to potential motives for war (“The Point of War”) and art regarding key issues of addiction & recovery (“Ceci N”est Pas Une Pipe” and “The Committee”).
In 1999, Alex’s path as an artist was again disrupted while he tended to the needs of the person he had loved for over 18 years — Dr. Scott Hitt, renowned AIDS czar under President Clinton. Alex’s ability to focus on his art was severely impacted, but in spite of the emotional challenges, Alex continued again to create his powerful paintings. Unfortunately his partner of 26 years at that point, succumbed to his illness. After a very dark and painful mourning period, Alex decided to move from Los Angeles to Palm Springs, Ca, Alex has come out from the shadows of his past, to share with the world his love & passion for Art, Science, & Politics. Alex has flourished here in our beautiful Palm Springs & desert area, and we are incredibly fortunate to have him here among us!
“I consider myself to be an abstract painter; more than Vermeer, yet less than Pollock on any given day. We are all abstract artists. The only realist artist is nature itself….”
Alexander Koleszar’s paintings can be seen at Archangel Gallery, 1103 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, Ca 92262, tel (760) 320-4795. Alex’s work can also be viewed on his website: www.Ajkart.com. Alex’s telephone (310) 625-5930