Posthumous exhibition for local artist Tony Rybacki
- Credit: Courtesy of the artist's family
From street scenes of Muswell Hill and Crouch End to the banana plantations of La Palma, Lauderdale House will host a posthumous exhibition of landscapes by north London native Tony Rybacki next month.
The late painter set the wheels in motion for the exhibition before the Covid-19 pandemic, but delays meant it was postponed until this summer. Sadly Rybacki was diagnosed with cancer early in 2022 and didn't live to see it. But following his death, friends and family joined together to ensure the show would go on, giving this substantial body of work its first public display.
Born in 1953 to a Polish father and an Irish mother, Rybacki grew up in Crouch End and loved to paint from a young age. Moving to Archway Road, Highgate, he worked in many different mediums over the course of his practice, though with time he came to favour oil painting.
His art captures scenes familiar to many north Londoners. He often found inspiration close to home, on the streets and green spaces of the area, looking for the perfect snapshot as inspiration for his next piece.
From Queen’s Wood to Pond Square and further north into Trent Park, his work presents us with scenes of leafy, everyday urban life. There is plenty of realism, but also, in some paintings, a certain uncanniness. Be it in the mysterious movements of the Heath’s ancient trees; the morning jogger disappearing into the hazy horizon; or in the Hampstead alleyway watched over by a fantastical lantern, spooky folklore rendered in oils.
Trips further afield also provided material. Moments of stillness are captured in the contrasting climates of southern Spain and the Brecon Beacons. Fishing boats look expectantly out to sea in Hastings, foreboding skies cast Devon in darkness, palm trees bask in the Penzance sun.
In paintings from a family holiday in Nice, Rybacki’s flair for seeing potential in unlikely subjects is evident, as a hulking concrete flyover gets the same attention as the sleek seafront Promenade des Anglais.
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Proceeds from the paintings go to charities which he supported: Centrepoint for the young homeless, and the UNHCR for refugees.
Paintings by Tony Rybacki runs August 3-29 at Lauderdale House, Highgate. https://www.lauderdalehouse.org.uk/whats-on/paintings-tony-rybacki