Power over Parkinson’s, One Painting at a Time

Never underestimate the power of creativity.

For more than 50 years, Highland Park resident Wojciech (nicknamed Voy) Madeyski has expressed his passions through his work as an architect, artist and environmental champion. But it has been through his personal battle with Parkinson’s Disease, diagnosed in 2003, that he’s articulated the tremendous depth and power of his passions.

An inspired history

Born in Poland, 76-year-old Voy studied in Warsaw and Paris, then later established a successful career in Chicago as both architect and artist.

Inspired by the Abstract Expressionism works of Jackson Pollock, Voy describes his own unique form of Expressionist art as one that is “rooted in realistic subjects seeking another dimension.”

Yet his inspiration never stopped with the material world. As a young man, Voy was one of a very few architects voicing concerns and offering architectural solutions to the potentially disastrous impact of urban development on nature. Throughout his lifetime, he has continued to reflect these concerns in paintings with bold, often jarring and sometimes apocalyptical juxtapositions of city versus nature.

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Voy’s Skyscrapers Swimming global-warming-pegged painting is one example of how he gives powerful life to topical concerns on canvas, with touches of quiet humor and pathos included.

Adapting to adversity

Prior to his diagnosis, Voy’s style was one of exacting precision in his trademark drawings and paintings. But as his Parkinson’s progressed, he fought to find a technique that would allow him to create his artistic vision in spite of the disease’s tremorous effects.

Voy discovered that enamel offered him flexibility and creativity, and the ability to colorfully juxtapose textures and patterns, abstract forms and real subjects. “The enamel paint dries to brilliant, lively and shiny surfaces, evoking machine-made objects,” Voy says.

A fitting tribute

Voy’s personal and professional evolution will be showcased in a one-man exhibit opening in August at the Re-invent Gallery in Lake Forest. Re-invent was founded in May 2012 by two young Lake Forest women, also artists themselves, as an “art hub” with a Fine Art gallery, innovative retail shop and studio offering classes and space for artists and amateurs alike.

Voy approached gallery owners Kristin Mikrut and Cecilia Lanyon after reading about their mission of inclusivity for diverse artists and art-lovers alike. Since his diagnosis in 2003, Voy had largely removed himself from the art scene.

This exhibit is his first one-man show in years, featuring his recent works painted with his adaptive technique to accommodate for tremors. The exhibit will also include several of his older works. Most importantly, it offers a compelling glimpse into one man’s personal and professional evolution and his courage in confronting ever-changing environments in both public and personal worlds.

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Cityscapes: The Works of Wojciech Madeyski will run August 17 to September 28 at the Re-invent Gallery, 202 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Lake Forest. Open Monday-Saturday,10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A private pre-opening reception, by advance reservation only, will be held on the evening of August 16. Visit their website or call 224-544-5961.