The Produce Aisle | Dennis Wojtkiewicz

#4, OIL, 28 X 72

By Devon Jackson

By If it hadn’t been for Bob Paulson, a professor of art at Southern Illinois
University, Dennis Wojtkiewicz might’ve ended up back in the working-class
Chicago neighborhood he was born and raised in, airbrushing and detailing cars for a living. Instead, Paulson convinced Wojtkiewicz to apprentice for a year in France at the Paris atelier of Patrick Betaudier. “Bob was truly my mentor and guardian angel. He was a real free spirit, whereas Patrick was a real disciplinarian. So I had this schizophrenic training,” says Wojtkiewicz, now a professor of painting at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University, where he’s taught since 1988.

All of Wojtkiewicz’s nearly photorealistic close-ups of sliced fruit play with the concept of a circle set inside a square. Using tiny brushes and plenty of underpainting, Wojtkiewicz says he often gets lost in the obsessive-compulsive technical details of his paintings. “The paintings work best when they light up from within. There’s a certain kind of religiosity to them,”
says the 52-year-old artist. “I’d like to think, too, that you can feel a life force coming from them and sense how interconnected everything is.”

He is represented by Peterson-Cody Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; J. Cacciola Gallery, New York, NY; Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, WI.

Featured in “The Produce Aisle” in November 2008