Thorny seduction by Grazyna Brylewska

April 10, 2009

First you see attractive shapes and seductive colors, but then you wander where that rosy feeling of sweetness that should come in the arrangement is. Everything is perfectly composed: screens of paper flowers, dolls of plastic ones or printed canvases. And yet, it picks you, and when you come closer, it becomes serious.

grazyna_brylewska3.jpgGrazyna Brylewska: Drapes, Shrouds, Curtains (c)

Grazyna Brylewska uses all kinds of material and expressive procedures to make a subtle, intertwined both intelligent and instinctive comment about the irony of life. Maybe the strongest telling have her art books where she imposes many levels of meanings; she draws on the long tradition of books as art media, (both literary and painting/drawing) but fills them with repetitive self-portraits, together with roses.  This self-portrait is black and white, with serious expression, page after page looking at you with the same gaze. But what changes is your perception – after you see this strange combinations of face and red, rose or black roses (which oddly reminds you on gravestone photos and flowers), and this continues as you go through pages, you get the hunch of something not so positive any more…

grazyna_brylewska2.jpgGrazyna Brylewska: Sick Rose – art book  (c)

The similar is felt after seeing a series of Grazyna’s works on canvas with self-portrait imprint. There are many variations: tissues that fall from the chest, tights hanging on the rope, displays on the walls and floor… Her face, an artist’s face, a woman’s face changes its gestures on the moving textile skin, but it also becomes uniformed, unindividual, lost in number. It can look happy or sad and everything in the wide emotional spectrum in between, but reduced of noble uniqueness, printed like any motif on the T-shirt. Of course, it’s an irony of human values, and buy showing their massive prostitution, the lady is actually persistent in preserving them.

grazyna_brylewska_1.jpgGrazyna Brylewska: Drapes, Shrouds, Curtains (c)

’The Book for William Blake’ is a composition of soldier formation that marches with trumpets like messengers for a great artist. Poet and painter, largely unrecognized during his lifetime, becomes not only a symbol of so many unrecognized great men, but as a symbol that needs to be protected from all sides.

grazyna_brylewska4.jpgGrazyna Brylewska: A Book For William Blake – art book  (c)

Maybe the human species should also be protected and preserved for age. A ‘Collection for the Millennium’ memorizes bones. Nicely kept in glass boxes or exposed on bases they are the materiality that is left – why should there be anything else when they are all there is it to it.

grazyna_brylewska5.jpgGrazyna Brylewska: A Collection For The Millennium (c)

’Planetary System’ shows all these different planets on the wall that look down to the small glass covered box stacked with people. The box is rendered on horror vacui principle and the law of cadre while all the figures adapt themselves according to the given frame. Those principles were charactresitic for medieval art when humans were humble and subordinated towards god; they were completely out of focus. Maybe that time is back again.

grazyna_brylewska6.jpgGrazyna Brylewska: Planetary System (c)

Grazyna Brylewska accentuates all the most important aspects of life; she filters them through very personal experience and articulates them with imaginative, free style, profound metaphors that balance on the edge between cruelty and optimism – just in the right ratio to attract you and tuck under your skin.

grazyna_brylewska9.jpgGrazyna Brylewska (c)

What is a true beauty of her work is that she never forces her agenda right on the first hand, but indulges into a play of associations, feelings, emotions and intuitions. ‘G.I.R.L.’ shows four women’s bellies: two adorned with tattoo and piercing, and two after operation and violence. The composition is also composed of the accompanying mirrors with their names. This revelation of social hypocrisies makes Grazyna Brylewska a genuine artist who keeps her aesthetic and ethical modes always at the top.

grazyna_brylewska7.jpgGrazyna Brylewska: G.I.R.L.  (c)

Grazyna Brylewska was born in Pozna?, Poland. She graduated from the Department of Painting, Graphic Arts and Sculpture at Pozna? Academy of Fine Arts, and studied at the Higher Institute of Applied Art in Vienna (grant from the F.V.S. Herder). Three times winner of the Ministry of Culture and the Arts grant. Since 2001 works at the Cracow Pedagogical Academy Art Institute, as a professor. Since 1973 the artist has taken part in over 250 exhibitions in Poland and abroad.

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(Ivana Podnar is guest blogger on Personal Cyber Botanica…)

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