The direct inspiration for the “Made in USA” series was a trip to the United States, during which Piotr Szczur experienced the beauty and unusual diversity of the landscape along the famous Route 66. In his latest paintings, the artist presents America in compression, closes huge spaces in often very small canvas formats, and extracts the essence from reality. In the American landscape, painted by Piotr Szczur, people are mostly absent. A special place is occupied by the sky, which often takes possession of a significant part of the composition. It is there that the main action of the play is usually performed, and through it the artist constructs a narrative.
The “Made in USA” series marks the culmination of a significant change in the content and form of Piotr Szczur’s paintings, which have been gradually taking shape in recent years. An artist known for his psychological portraits now brings his attention to landscape painting, at the same time limiting the relationship of painting and photography that has been important in past years. Piotr Szczur represents actually existing fragments of the landscape, although, especially when we isolate the individual paintings from the context of the entire collection, one can see an increasingly clear departure from photorealism. The most important thing is the impression, the emotional perception of reality. The artist focuses on the form of the artwork, celebrates the medium, deliberately guides the brushstroke, and, at the same time, splashes color on selected fragments of the composition so as to allow the element of the controlled fortuity to come to life. The portrayal of America also becomes the starting point for experiments and reflections on the form of the artwork, which, in an increasingly noticeable way, lead the artist towards abstraction.
Despite their small sizes, the paintings from the series “Made in USA” contain an extremely intriguing interpretive ambiguity. Almost every one of them can function simultaneously as an autonomous landscape, an independent representation of a specific place or sign, a symbol of the United States as a whole. At the same time, it should be remembered that they are also fragments of a great puzzle that, when gathered, show the magnitude and diversity of the natural and cultural landscape of modern America. Therefore the proper way of displaying images in the gallery space becomes crucial, as it reveals the true meaning of this series to us. The American paintings by Piotr Szczur are not only memorabilia, memories of a journey made. Only when suspended in one row do they begin to function as a kind of map, a testimony of the journey traveled – both in the physical and the spiritual senses. And although all the artworks from this series differ from each other just as the individual States of America do, the “Made in USA” series constitutes an extremely coherent whole. In Piotr Szczur’s paintings we find consistent admiration for the majesty of the American sky, a sense of unrestricted freedom, romantic sensitivity with which the artist experiences and depicts the surrounding landscape, and, above all, a deep understanding and awareness of belonging to the place he still longs to miss.