The Dark Saints of Kris Wlodarski

While there are certainly sexual themes in the paintings of Kris Wlodarski, I would be reluctant to call the works erotic. Instead I find his paintings a challenge to the viewer, mixing themes of vulnerability, fetish, isolation, dependency, and blindness with a religious undertone.

But then again, since when has edgy and challenging not been associated with the darker side of erotic?

The figures in Wlodarski’s paintings seem to transcend their humanity into something otherworldly. The obstruction of their eyes and the restraint upon their bodies- placed in stark and mysterious settings, serves to separate these characters from reality. Who are these figures? Why are they there? Who has put them into bondage? The figures become almost alien and a distance is created between the viewer and the painting.

To be sure there is something slightly uncomfortable about these dark alien figures. They do not seem happy or sad; they simply seem to exist in their perpetual blindness. And where there is a manifestation of the erotic through the use of rope, gags, medical equipment, or gas masks it seems to serve more as a way to further isolate these figures rather than to bring them closer or make them more accessible. Still, Wlodarski has a knack for delving into these dark and haunted places and I look forward to seeing how he continues to develop and push this theme.

Article by Kayla

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