Olkusz

The concept of the exhibition of young painter from Krakow Kinga Nowak is based upon a recalling of the past, the specific atmosphere, remembered events and situations. It is also an attempt to deal with the past, to accept the time passing by and the emptiness that remains. Kinga Nowak creates a painting story which is very eloquent and nostalgic. The current exhibition is a show of a few oil paintings, the portraits of dear persons, who are intrinsically connected for the artist with her childhood. But she also looks back at herself, trying to analyse, who she would be now if she hadn’t spent all these years in this precise place, house, among these people. A starting point for Nowak’s paintings which determinates their form is a photo. The photographic exactness excludes the expressive stylistics and geometrization, which were present in her earlier works. The great commend of the traditional painting workshop allows her to create realistic, spatial and compact compositions. Beside the subtle tonal transitions she uses strong contrasts of colours and of lights and shadows. The smoothened surface of the paintings (which is quite similar to a surface of photo prints) “neutralizes” their form even more. The form is to become as transparent as not to disturb the precise illusion of real presence of persons lighted up by the sun. The fact that the show is limited only to few paintings enforces concentration and makes the mood of the works and relations between them more intense. It turns out that the sharpness of light, look and memories are the same thing here.

 This is what the artist says about her presentation:

“Olkusz” is an exhibition whose subject is the past, the period of my childhood. In Olkusz I spent the first years of my life. I was living with my grandmother in an old house with garden. For me, Olkusz is the grandmother, the backyard, the bench lighted up by the sun in front of the house, puddles after rain, summer, the family holidays. This is a place that I often idealize and come back to. I recall this world again: the people, the atmosphere of that place and time which is gone, which I miss and which exists now only in my memory. In these paintings I present myself in relation to my grandmother, my father and the older cousin. These works are a return to childhood, but they also arose from a desire to close and “cross” this time. I look back to the past because I can find there the source of who I am now. The place where I lived, the people I was connected to, the family relationships, forms of upbringing are kind of a clue, a trail for me. Looking at them, I try to better understand my present problems. I come back to Olkusz because it helps me to accept that it is gone, and at the same time it helps me to separate from it, to grow up.”

Małgorzata Gołębiewska