Monika Jurkiewicz   »

WYSTAWA: od 12 LIPCA do 28 Września 2006

In her work, with cleverness and intelligent irony, Monika Jurkiewicz often presented antynomy of life and death. She took into consideration the process of passing, the fear of existence, difficulties in communicating with other people. She did it exposing in her works the image of man in a variety of contexts and life situations. At the same time she searched for safe (real and metaphysical) space which might be an asylum for human fragile existence, where the route leading to understanding human existence could originate.

In recent works this space is both very much extended and specified. Our existence, marked merely by a few slender traces, is presented against the background of the whole nature whose weak link we are. The artist makes landscape the object of her interest. She keeps to her creative preferences. She has always manifested her affection for traditional approved genres and motives such as a still life, a nude or the already mentioned landscape. The images of nature in Monika Jurkiewicz's paintings - are perfectly cropped, presented with a nearly photographic precision and care for a detail, filled with carefully selected colour and subtle light. The exposed fragments of landscape seem to be familiar, made of elements which we easily recognize, whose real existence we can not deny. At the beginning we have no doubts. However, while analysing the images, we realize they can not be just 'photographic' pictures taken from reality, that we stand in front of a constructed landscape. It dawns on us that the exhibited paintings exist only in the artist's imagination, that they are deliberately built vehicles intended for thoughtful considerations. Sometimes the painter decides to reveal her mistification. Out of familiar elements she creates a new reality, she does not hide the fantastic nature of some landscapes. Her method reminds us of certain modes used by some surrealists, like e.g. Max Ernst, also with regard to the applied painting techniques, as the background is frequently shaped with the use of special methods and tools, which help the artist to obtain interesting texture effects and to combine the impression of a photographic print with some fantasmagoric visions. Some image elements are 'out of place' here and they appear to be objects transferred onto the canvas from some oniric visions. Specific suggestions of the works' titles (associations such as: 'a whale', 'another moon', 'a golden fish') refer us to the sphere of free surreal streams of visions and thoughts.

In these works we can observe greater non-conformity in the approach to colour issues. And contrary to this: in the works which are closer to the exact representation of really existing landscapes, a more moderate greyish colour palette dominates. We feel that Monika Jurkiewicz's landscapes were taken out of context or created not only for the sake of the very images. It is not only their beauty or their aesthetic value which are most important here. There is also a significant humanistic thought that is hidden behind their semantic layer. In fact these fantastic images convey the message concerning the nature of the world, the essence of existence, eschatological issues. They originate from the perception of atavistic fears and anxieties.

The main character of these rich painterly works is nature, treated holisticly, organicly and as a whole, as an everlasting manifestation of life, life which awakens and dies away. Therefore next to fragile, vulnerable nature elements: twigs or leaves, there are elements which seem to be constant, premanent. With dead components of nature there come those which are still alive. In the rift of a rock there appears a blooming flower, a transient image of the sky is reflected in the mirror of water flowing down the pebbles, the sun rises and sets above the horizon. Splits in the bark of trees like wrinkles are the reason for our worries. They remind us of inevitable constant passing like craquelure in a few hundred . year . old paintings of the old masters. We are simultaneously relieved to find traces of nature renewal in infinite repetitive cycles. Objects of nature are spread between two poles of existence: life and death, they make their way from birth, through youth until the old age, the end of physical existence. In these paintings nature lives like a human being . it breathes and seems to be emotional. Its everlasting beauty becomes a model pattern according to which we form our image of perfection, also referring to what is ideal in man and in an object created by the man. For ages the model of feminine nude has been preserved by rocks, their hollows and reliefs, smooth contours of natural shapes and sensually bothering cracks and ravines.

Perfect, amazing, similar to fractals patterns of nature are like still unknown algorithms which represent the knowledge concerning the structure of the universe. In this context Monika Jurkiewicz remains faithful to her fascinations. As before, she 'searches for divinity in all kind of manifestations of existence, she tries to find a path leading to the sphere of eternal sense. She touches the sphere of the objective beauty preserved in the harmony of colour, shape and light.' Man is a specific component of that creation. In the world created by the painter man's image does not appear. People's existence is revealed by some traces of human activity which is taken up with a weak faith in the meaning and sense of efforts that we make to understand and accept the world which surrounds us. Carved in a stone, worn out magic square, SATOR, common property of many eras, religions and philosophies, remains a pitiful testimony to futile attempts to understand the secrets of existence. It similtaneously confirms our eternal need to appeal to metaphysics, our nostalgia for the Absolute, the necessity to find out the mystery of existence. Partly blurred rock paintings recall human attempts which were to tame nature. Unfortunately they are only the background for its rampant existence. Polluted waters unmask man as the main cause of its destruction.

Dualism in thought, in philosophy of that creation is also reflected in the construction of work. In her painting Monika Jurkiewicz strongly emphasizes relations between the planes of a painting. It is not only a perfidious etrickf of an experienced artist, who knows how to attract a viewer by juxtaposition of a wide rich background with an interesting detail of the foreground. Arranging various image elements is a decisive factor in the presentation of the process of passing, change and revival. In this way it is easier for us to penetrate the structure of the created reality. The contrast of plans which build the image becomes in turn an essential expression of interpretation of the world. It is the source of dramatic suspence. Using the language of art the artist reminds us of time going by, she makes us consider the essence and objectives of human activity. She appeals to the long-lasting philosophical problem concerning the potential of rational and sensual cognition of the world.

This procedure considerably intensifies the impact of the work's artistic values. Frontal elements of the first plan cast shadows on the planes in the background, they suggest spaciousness and they build the impression of depth. Compositional plans are presented by means of direct and objective means of expression, details traditionally shown with the undisputed workshop skill. Statics of carefully selected objects intensifies the impression of seriousness, the sense of solemnity. The well-balanced stable composition endows the work with a kind of monumentality.

Monika Jurkiewicz'fs creation is a specific way to tame nature. Images do not originate merely from its affirmation accompanied by anxieties and resignation. The artist builds landscapes according to her own rules, controlling their structure and the way they exist. In this way the anxiety which goes together with the atavistic fascination with nature is weakened. It is partly a magic act evoked by the creatore .

demiurg. Following the artist we wander through the land of beauty, observing its manifestations somewhere around us. The image and mysteries of this area can only be revealed in the process of creation. Perhaps that is why images of nature created by Monika Jurkiewicz are characterised by a specific kind of decorativeness. The new aesthetics and philosophy of her work is in a way close to a bit naive childlike creation, where children conceive 'secrets' by means of flowers, leaves, dried twigs and little favourite objects endowed with some mysterious power. To find them you must know where to look for them as they are always carefully hidden to avoid the eyes of unwanted intruders. Later on it is enough to remove a layer of soil and take a magnifying glass in order to see...

Dariusz Le.nikowski

Translated by Elżbieta Rodzeń-Leśnikowska