Lee Jaworek, a 33-year-old Falls Church painter, sees the world through “the prismatic lens of autism,” and his artwork — which he has dubbed “Artism” — allows him to reflect the world the way he experiences it.
“It’s like the inside and the outside, they’re sort of two worlds. And [painting] is just making a bridge between the two and trying to convey to other people a message about me,” he says.
Jaworek’s works will be on display at Nepenthe Gallery in Alexandria, with an opening on November 9. There will be about 18 works on display and for sale at the gallery until November 22.
“We at Nepenthe Gallery are delighted to shine a spotlight on Lee and his amazing works,” said gallery owner Carrie Garland. “Loosely translated, Nepenthe is a Greek word meaning ‘a place of no sorrow,’ so it is very fitting that we feature an uplifting and inspiring artist like Lee.”
Jaworek’s art is especially influenced by the way he experiences the five senses. Many people with autism experience sensory sensitivity, which can cause them to feel particularly sensitive to sound, touch, taste, smell, and sight. Though this can be overwhelming, Jaworek channels that experience into making his artwork reflect the vibrancy and extremity of the senses he experiences.
His work has a particular emphasis on colors, something that’s important to him. Jaworek believes that “each color is just as important as every other color,” and it shows in the vibrancy of his work. While his paintings vary in their degrees of realism, many take on an impressionistic style, with organic lines and fluid shapes.
Jaworek says he remembers having an affinity for art his whole life, going back to finger painting as a child, always with an interest in capturing the full spectrum of color.
After attending Northern Virginia Community College, he studied art at the Art Institute of Washington, where he worked with professors to hone his talents. He’s worked with different mediums of art but gravitates toward painting as his favorite.
He has had works displayed in prominent locations throughout the region, including in the Virginia State Capitol, the Athenaeum in Alexandria, and this fall, in the office of Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross.
“I’m very proud that Lee is leaving such a positive mark on the world, that he’s doing something that, to me, is important on a deep, deep level,” says Debi Jaworek, Lee’s mother. “And I think Lee feels that, too.”
Feature image of Lee Jaworek courtesy Nepenthe Gallery
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