I know very little of Novus41, other than he’s a Polish forty-three-year-old who goes by the name of Stanley. Well, that’s not quite all, his bio, translated for free with good ol’ Google translate, says that he does physical work by day and his art is created in his spare time. Stanley also writes short stories and has links to those on his DeviantArt page if you can read Polish.
I was first attracted to one of his latest pictures called Parting, and when I looked through the rest of his work found I could identify with many of his images. Stanley is capable of producing imagery that has a “quiet” feel to it. In particular, I’m drawn to both Parting, and Contrition for this very reason. They’re calm. Still. They give you time to think. I haven’t much to offer in the way of analysis and this is more a post for here is some work which is conducive to clearing the head of clutter.
I’m intrigued by Parting. The head in the water is disproportionately bigger than the man standing beside what looks like an over-sized puddle. Was his head once too big? Is there an element of humility expressed in the way he stands over the face with his hands in his pockets? Or does the face loom large because he is moving on and saying goodbye to those he once knew? Maybe he once used to look at things as bigger than they were in reality and the parting is a move away from worry and an old habit of blowing things out of proportion?
Contrition isn’t just showing remorse, but forgiveness too. This image is pretty powerful in its symbolic expression. There’s an underlying message coming through that life really is okay, although yet again there’s an intimation that whatever has happened maybe wasn’t as big or bad as the person thought. He stands in a tiny body of water that doesn’t even cover half of him, yet he’s soaking wet; has he put himself under on purpose? Contrition speaks of a time after an event, is this how he felt at its conclusion? Water speaks of emotion, and here it says there isn’t enough to overwhelm if one remains still and stays on their feet. Whatever emotion remains, the water surrounding him suggests he is feeling it, and at some point has washed over him. But then maybe he was just standing in an empty pit, and he was caught out by a passing storm. Or maybe it was a tsunami of sorts that caught him off guard? He can climb out anytime he’s ready, so whatever situation this image represents - it’s nothing to worry about and will leave no mark on memory nor soul. It’s possible this picture will resonate with those who suffer from guilt, and in this instance, it reflects a need to gain forgiveness from a higher power. It can be too easy to fall into the trap of perpetually berating the self, and instead of using the mistake as a catalyst for growth, it becomes a form of emotional masturbation which benefits no one but the internal demon it feeds. The face in the sky is Buddha-like, and this says mastery over the emotions is a goal here, but the man-self may need to acknowledge that imperfection is what makes us human.