Chicago impressionist E.J. Paprocki returns to DeBruyne Fine Art in Naples for a solo exhibition that opens January 10. He brings to Southwest Florida new landscapes and cityscapes of destinations in Ireland, England and France, as well as luscious figurative works that include his Children on the Beach series.
Success came to Paprocki early in his career. At 18, he spent four months painting New York's Plaza Hotel. The precocious teen sent new owner Ivana Trump a letter and a photo of the completed painting, and she holds the distinction of being his very first sale.
A finance major at Loyola University with a minor in art, E.J. spent much of his out-of-class time visiting Chicago’s world-class museums and art galleries. The latter did not just afford him with invaluable feedback and constructive criticism. Two of the galleries offered to sell his work, one of which was the internationally-renowned Galleries Maurice Sternberg. By the time he graduated, a gallery in Boston was also exhibiting his work, and soon after, the prestigious Wally Findlay Galeries began representing him as well.
"He's one of the smartest artists I represent," says Suzanne DeBruyne. "In spite of his early success, he's avoided the trap of becoming formulaic. I admire that he's never afraid to stretch his professional boundaries and do something new as an artist. As a consequence, I see areas of growth in all of his work."
According to DeBruyne, the variety of the subject matter offered in his new show is the best in years. But the subtlety of his renditions is what makes those offerings significant works in the realm of modern impressionism.
Before the Recital is a case in point. The 30 x 20 inch oil on linen depicts a young ballerina reading from a book held open in her lap. Through the use of a marvelous pastel palette, he deftly conveys the softness of the moment. The dancer's poise and self-discipline are expressed through nuanced body language in the guise of the gentle incline of the his subject's head, set of her jaw, hold of her narrow shoulders and the way her slender arms hug her tiny frame.
The composition is more than a pretext for "for using pale, soft tints" and "painting pretty clothes" [to quote Degas' self-deprecating explanation of his predilection for ballet dancers. Paintings like Before the Recital, Mother & Child in a Field and Child in a Field of Flowers represent Paprocki's segue into figurative motifs that carries him and his viewers well beyond his Children on the Beach series.
"Also new is his treatment of light on water," reports Suzanne DeBruyne. In this ilk are Morning Sunlight, Clearing Skies, Harbor Sunset, Brittany and, closer to home, Naples.
DeBruyne Fine Art is holding a reception for the artist from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, January 10. The exhibition will remain on view through Wednesday, January 23. DeBruyne Fine Art is located on Broad Street in Naples' Third Street South Gallery District. For more information, please visit www.debruynefineart.com or telephone 239-262-4551.