Magdalena Gluszak – Holeksa is our artist of the month and is based at the Forge.
How would you describe your current practice (eg materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?
The natural environment is a central feature of my childhood memories and has become a starting point in my exploration of identity. This sense of identity oscillates between the past and the ever-becoming of the present moment. The edges of conscious perception soften, giving way to what might seem subconscious or beyond our current awareness. I consider the mechanics of memory, specifically inherited memory, through the alchemical process of painting. In my approach to painting any sense of control over forms and colours continually evolves and shifts. This uncertain state of mind is reflected in the tension between shadows and electric colours, fluid forms and ambiguous settings, together rendering a dream-like realm. The compositions are initially collaged from family photographs, staged self-portraits and found images online: bringing together that which is documented, remembered, staged and imagined to create transitory moments within the canvas. The spaces formed on the canvas merge elements of landscape, body parts and man-made structures.
Do we belong to where we came from or where we are going?
My experience of living between cultures and countries, belonging to both but not being at home within either, induced an impulse to question my experience of time, memory and body within particular locations.
Moving in-between places, both literal and psychological, is signalled in my paintings by the nomadic nature of abstracted forms which are contrasted with figurative elements. These figures act as ‘anchors’. They are never fully one thing, but instead waver and un-become. The familiar parts of the paintings hold both hope and loss, and reinforce the importance of un-learning: both within the creative process and in the relationships between the self and the other.
What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops, etc)?
I currently have an end of residency exhibition at Broadway Gallery in Letchworth Garden City. ‘Mountain, Too, Has Its Thoughts’ consists of twelve works, with oil paintings and works on paper. Most of the works have been made during the residency, which took place between September 2021 – February 2022. As part of the exhibition, I am currently preparing towards an event with a discussion between me and an invited artist Sarah White, who is also a mentor and researcher. It’s been highly productive and intense four months of the residency resulting in an exciting new body of work with ideas and discoveries that I will continue developing during my time as Fellow at Digswell studios.
What are you plans for the coming year?
Dig deep into the ideas and themes I discovered during the Letchworth Residency.
What is the question that you most get asked about your work?
Why do you use the cool colour palette?
Who are what inspires you?
Other artists, my family, memories, nature and literature.
Which artists do you most admire and why?
Victor Man for the colours he uses and the way he paints objects and symbols. Adam Lee for his vibrant fluid compositions and the simple and straightforward way he spoke about his work when I met him. Liang Fu for the way he paints with lights and shadows.
How has your relationship with Digswell Arts strengthened your practice as an artist?
Having a studio space at Digswell gives me a sense of security as an artist and provides me with a community and a place I wanted to be a part of for a long time. I feel more free to experiment and to plan for the coming years. I can be more ambitious and focused and I am very excited for what’s coming next in my practice.
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