I grew up in a world where the forest shimmered in endless variations of green and yellow and hues I still can’t name, the soil seemed to turn from black to brown to something like blue as it dribbled from my hand and where the sky bled purple at dusk. In Poland, though, behind the Iron Curtain, art meant black and white reproductions, washed out grays and “social realism,” art that didn’t seem to be much of either. Drenched in it in life, deprived of it in art, I have become consumed by color in my work. I want the colors I use to breathe and pulse, to transform spaces between them, to illuminate light and darkness behind them.
I was born and grew up in Milanowek, Poland, outside Warsaw. My father was a professor of agriculture and my mother was an art teacher. I spent my time outside of school roaming the deep forests and endless fields, studying bees and flowers and all the nature exploding around me. I was fascinated by growth and decay, life and death. I wanted to understand when things began, how they changed, why they ended. In high school, I studied philosophy and majored in biology and chemistry. I surrendered myself to books and microscopes until one day in the meadows I was so moved by the cool reds and the warm reds that I felt compelled to paint the scene. It was the only way I could understand what was in front of me. I began to paint the world.
The White Series 2019 represents my inquiry into the nature of White. Their subject relies on the merging of the emotional memory of my homeland, Poland, with the life of the painting process itself. The final expression attempts to be a more universal, a more objective expression of our yearning for meaning and our desire to connect.
The White Series 2019 is an odyssey that begins in darkness, weaves its way through shadows and arrives at White. Darkness is primary, layering colors until they are saturated, heavy and opulent. Oftentimes it is hard to take that darkness away; here’s where one can rest, where it’s peaceful and full of possibility. Transitioning from darkness to shadows and then unfolding to White becomes an alchemical process, much like being a parent. One gives birth to an essence that has the opportunity to grow and become fully realized. Both painter and parent guide that essence, assisting, then letting go to allow a unique creation to exist as a singular entity.
When I arrive at White, it’s always tinted, shaded and molded by what came before it. Pure White does not exist in reality, just like pure light cannot be perceived by the naked eye. It needs some interaction, an interference to become visible and relatable. I imagine pure White would be blinding like a “milky fog on the ocean” without a point of reference, without direction, it’s indifference calmly veils memories and the past. White holds for me a sense of uncertainty for the future, it vacillates and won’t be pinned down, it leaves a trace of an intriguing mystery. Within White’s achromatic vibration, an observer is invited to layer a new vision.
I see my painting as non-objective, yet they seem to refer to some objective, human, emotional, and always multilayered experience. The reference to a horizon, evokes in me a sense of wonder, and the unknown, no beginning and no end, it slows me down, into observing attentively.
In a world where stillness is rare, my paintings rely on the moments of quietude, where they take time to create time.