The Matter of drawing

Group exhibition
Galeria Atelier II
Kraków
X - XI 2022

Drawing is one of the elements of the visual language. It is used by painters, sculptors, graphic artists and architects to fulfil  a kind of service role for these disciplines, the role of a helper or prompter remaining in the background or even outside the stage. But at the same time, drawing is the strength of the creator and the teacher, because drawing is a construct of any work, it teaches the basics of composition and is the backbone of any painting, sculpture or building.

And here we have – a group of friends who decided to show drawing on stage in the leading role. Viola Chmielewska, Małgosia Flisek, Joanna Miczałowska, Beata Pałach-Milligan, Beata Sarapata,  Michał Baca and Dominika Wojtylak. Each artists represents a very good mastery of the workshop, each using a different technique and aesthetics to exposes their idea about the world.

Dominika Wojtylak presents a series of drawings of willow trees, so characteristic of the Polish landscape. Large-size cartons made with a brush and ink,  black lines without additional half-shades, have the character of noble woodcuts and have a very large dose of expression. Leafless, rosoch-like trunks are twisted in painful contractions, but the texture of the bark is equally striking, its cracks and stretch marks form a complex network of lines like wrinkles on an old body. All of Dominika’s drawings undergo an interesting metamorphosis from a broader, realistic look to close, tight frames, where the intricate grid of lines creates a maze of almost abstract forms.

An interesting complement to Dominika’s works are the pastel drawings by Beata Pałach – Milligan. While her friend draws the visible, more or less phenomenal side of the tree, Beata looks under the surface of the ground, into its depths, into the subsoil. By drawing roots, rhizomes and underground tubers with crayons and pastels, she creates a world of some primordial matter. It is a slightly fairy-tale world, mysterious and impenetrable to human eyes. On the one hand, the artist – by lightly colouring her works with ochre, red brown and rotten green – achieves the effect of decomposition of matter, but on the other hand, it is suggesting the process of reincarnation. Because on what is rotten and digested a new rhizome grows, and the nature is slowly reborn in its eternal cycle.

Matter of drawing exhibition
Matter of drawing exhibition

Viola Chmielewska interprets nature in a different way. Her delicate, extremely sensitive drawings of leaves and grasses combine ink drawing with a monotype. There is a passion of an artist and a scientist – naturalist who tries to reach the innervation and use of biological matter. It is interesting that the works on the one hand emphasize the beauty of the world, delicately flirt and seduce the viewer with their defenceless grace, but on the other hand, they are art with a metaphorical generalization over the difficulty of reaching the essence of nature. It is even some objection to reality, a hesitation or a surprise over the world, i.e. a reflection on the non-obvious that is necessary for the artist, an attempt to look under the lining of things and phenomena in search of boundaries between us and everything that surrounds us.

Joanna Miczałowska, on the other hand, shifts her interests to people. The set of her works includes designs of theatrical costumes, studies of female nudes and archetypal portraits drawn in white ink on black cardboard. The artist neither embellishes her models nor idealizes them. On the contrary, austere simplicity and a slight deformation serve to bring out the character of existential seriousness from their models. In both theatrical sketches, portraits and nudes, Joanna appreciates the power of creative energy and lets her imagination run wild, rather than searches for the correctness of shapes and finishing details.

Beata Sarapata shows her works even more differently. She is a quiet and modest person, a bit introverted, but inside she is a volcano of energy, ideas and unconventional solutions. Her short, metaphorical and allusive drawings have a peculiar iconography inspired be Aboriginal and African art. Here the matter of the drawing becomes a pretext for various formal solutions. At one time her works are woven of fine points like salt grains, at other times – sweeping images of birds on the verge of bravado, which then serve as painting themes. There are also drawings of totems, depending on the context, it is treated as a magic sign or symbol. It is worth paying attention to the inventiveness and ease that Beata composes her works with, and the fact that nothing is repeated in her art, she does not fall into the schema.

Finally, Małgosia Flisek and Michał Baca. Their drawings are typical sketches for paintings. They are not  autonomous works and not pretending to be finished images. These are lightly, freely and fine sketched of landscapes seen from the window of the studio, portraits of friends, family members or animals. These fleeting threads, fragments of reality that we are indifferent to in our daily rush, but for these two artists they are a source of constant inspiration. These springs do not come from high rocks and do not surprise in moments of fervent revelation only in the moments of everyday bustle. However, these drawings allow them to show not only the physical literalness, but also to look at our worldly journey more broadly. There is, however, a certain significant difference between the two, because if Małgosia’s gaze is warm, gentle and, we would say, epicurean, Michał’s gaze, although often showing childish carelessness or beauty of women, is nevertheless lined with ultimate motifs, inevitable old age and the end of life.

We encourage you to see this exhibition, presented by not only art teachers, long-term collaborators and creators, but also a group of close friends. Their diversity of attitudes, the choice of creative paths and aesthetics are quite different, but the exhibition harmoniously complements and closes, just as their cooperation in our facility proceeds harmoniously and favourably.

Text: Agnieszka Wozowicz and Michał Baca
Photo: Łukasz Wojtylak

The exhibition is open from October 18 to November 30, 2022 at Galeria Atelier II, SCKM ul. Dietla 53. Opening: October 27, at 18.00.

Matter of drawing exhibition
Matter of drawing exhibition
Matter of drawing / fot. Łukasz Wojtylak
Matter of drawing / fot. Łukasz Wojtylak
Matter of drawing / fot. Łukasz Wojtylak
Matter of drawing / fot. Łukasz Wojtylak
Matter of drawing / fot. Łukasz Wojtylak