Bajka, [pronounced bye-ka], means fable or fairy tale in Polish. Creating this recent work, I felt like I was travelling back to my childhood in Poland where I spent memorable days in forests making cubby houses, in the fields (flattening our neighbour's wheat crop to make mazes), collecting feathers, flowers, berries and mushrooms - the edible ones as taught to me by adults. These are some of my most vivid memories that feed into this body of work.
The prints and drawings inquire into the ways I connected with nature and the land through culture, food, stories and myths during my childhood. There is common ground between these experiences and the indigenous Australian cultural connection to Country. I cannot appropriate this indigenous connection to Australia but I long for some of its magic. Every time I am back on Polish soil, this connection to land floods back, despite being away for 32 years. Experiencing this country and getting close to it through nature is one way I can create new bonds, fragile like fresh connective tissue sewing together a wound. Tied to an interest in environmentalism, this exhibition is an inquiry into the mechanisms that elevate nature to a more important level on an intimate and individual basis. This connection is what fuels a drive to protect the environment and the art is part of my activism.
The exhibition is opening on Saturday the 10th of June, 2017 from 4:30 until 7pm at The Stockroom in Kyneton, which is around an hour from Melbourne. It will run until the 2nd of July.
This drawing of a tree is not a drawing about the tree. At 310cm in height it is big. A highly detailed drawing depicting a dead eucalyptus tree's trunk and root system. Embedded in the roots are stones and the cambium shows the activity of wood miners. The image is based on my own photographs of various trees in the Gariwerd/Grampians National Park in Victoria.
The drawing also includes elements that are hidden at first glance and intended to be found on closer and longer observation: patterns suggestive of human faces, parts of human bodies, feathers, hawk wings. These hidden elements expose a more ethereal or supernal level of the work that is subject to the viewer's interpretation or imagination. The intention was to study the interface between the physical body of the tree as representing nature and the cultural and spiritual meanings that humanity attaches to nature. At one stage I titled it 'Symbiosis' with an intention to move the idea of the term out of its biology context to include the cultural, religious and spiritual elements that are enriched by nature; we may have a symbiotic relationship with forests. This is important in a world where nature is pillaged and the findings of neuroscience show that the urban environment has negative effects on the brain. Currently I am still undecided on the final title.
I still haven't seen the drawing in its entirety, except in a photo. (I was holding the drawing up from behind while the photographer took the shots). It extends past my studio wall so I had to come up with a hanging system to be able to finish the bottom. Some parts of the drawing were so complex, including "photoshopping" in my head, that it would take 5 hours to draw an area the size of an apple. At one stage a return trip to Gariwerd was necessary to take photos of missing details. It's been an epic draw, thanks tree.
While I quietly work on some new prints and drawings, my work from the last couple of years can be seen at two new locations. The Stockroom in Kyneton, Victoria is showing a selection of works. It's a great shop and gallery where you can admire other artists, see current exhibitions and browse the shop.
Back in Melbourne, I'm happy to be added to the stable of artists at PG Printmaker Gallery. They are located on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
In February I will have work in two galleries. I couldn't post any updates on the Dowd Foundation Scholarship, or my solo show, as I promised thanks to a problem with my blog page. Fortunately I just found the solution and I can happily announce that next month is the awaited group exhibition featuring myself and two other artists who also completed different scholarships at The Australian Print Workshop in 2015.
The photo on the right shows a fragment of a print made during my scholarship. The body of work focuses around aquifers such as The Great Artesian Basin. These geological systems are mostly unseen by the human eye. Through the images, I am giving them a presence and hope to bring awareness to the threat of fracking chemicals on these great bodies of ancient, filtered water.
The exhibition: Between here and there, opening Saturday February 13th, 2016, 2-4pm. At The Australian Print Workshop, 210 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Victoria.
Just three days before that I am also showing three of my prints at Tacit Contemporary in their annual printmaking exhibition. The prints were shown at my recent solo show in October. If you have or haven't seen them before, come along as there will be heaps of other great artists showing.
The exhibition: Editions 2016 at Tacit Contemporary, 312 Johnston Street, Abbotsford, Victoria. Opening Wednesday February 10th, 2016, 6:30-8pm.
Stuff's been happening. As of last week, I began my Australian Print Workshop Dowd Foundation Scholarship. I was so excited to be invited and to accept. Over the next three months I will be working on some new ideas and producing a collaborative work with the senior printmakers at APW. It will be exciting to see a little further into the world of print. I will be posting some regular updates and photos of the progress here. Follow me on Instagram @kasiafabijanska to see more of this project.
In other news, I have an upcoming exhibition at Rubicon ARI opening October 14th, more on this later. It has been keeping me busy. Two and a half months ago I tried writing a blog about my topic for this show...it turned into an essay with references and I'm still not satisfied with it enough to publish it. The deadline is nigh though.
Last but not least, we, at Studio23a in Brunswick, are having another open day on Sunday September 20th, 1-5pm. Art, nibbles and artists will be provided. Address: 23a Leslie Street, Brunswick, Melbourne.
"Where will I hide when all the forests are gone?" ...a strange thought maybe but one that runs deep in our psyche, I would think. A forest being a place where you can hide away and not be seen; a historically and culturally meaningful place with roots in a time when vast regions of Europe (where I come from) were covered by woods.
It was one of the thoughts while I have been busy working on a new body of work comprising etchings and drawings. The prints contain fragments of my local scenery, some more recognisable to those who know Melbourne, some less. Trees and natural forms feature in a fantastical, imaginary landscape or "spacescape." Two etchings will be on show in November 2014, one at each exhibition:
The second exhibition "Impressions" is at the Australian Print Workshop. It is a showcase of 15x20cm prints featuring many prominent and emerging Australian artists. The prints will cost between $100-$250. Get in early as this show was a huge crowd-drawer two years ago:
Up for some Mel-burbs chill time and exploring? Come see our studios. It has been my work space for seven months and along with the other artists, we will be opening our doors to the curious. There will be paintings, prints, sculpture, work for sale and you may score a sneaky look at my next big project... Melbourne as you haven't seen it before. Follow me on google+, Instagram and Pinterest for any updates or reminders.
This recent work is at Scope Galleries until July 20th for the Art Award finalist exhibition. The theme of the Award is art concerning environment. My entry titled "Trace II" is of a banksia seed pod with small fragments of it cut out and others drawn floating to one side. With a conceptual approach, the work investigates the dynamics of the environment, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of spectacle based on our assumptions of what nature and the environment mean to us. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination.
In December I was lucky to secure a new studio in the (still) industrial zone of Brunswick. Straight from a successful exhibition and into a new work space provided a lot of good energy to start thinking about new work. Ideas ricocheted from sci-fi, futuristic themes to ideas stemming from christian icon art, stained glass windows and the meaning and mythology concerning the wilderness influenced by reading "Landscape and Memory" by Simon Schama. After moving in, a couple of opportunities popped up for me to start exploring these ideas:
The first was a group show titled "Blueprint" to highlight the importance of the artists' studio environment. Artists were asked to comment on this theme through their individual art practice. The show will emphasise how the studio affects the artists' work individually, spatially and socially. The works will be accompanied by a short statement. Here is my response, expanded for this blog:
My work is titled "Vulnerable" because it is an experimental composition of ideas thrown together, which I have not properly worked through in the safe heaven of the studio. In it I am exposing myself and the vulnerability of fledgling ideas. Now in the public, it is open to scrutiny and judgement of opinions.
The work represents several different ideas circulating in my head relating to the wilderness, environmental concerns and even myth, ones which may, (if it was not for this exhibition), have never left the studio realm for lack of production time or proper concept and aesthetic development. Whether I pursue a body of work depends on a critical decision on the conceptual and aesthetic merit - the legacy I may one day be accountable for. This artistic process requires a space, both comfortable and free of distractions which has influenced how my studio has organically evolved.
I also entered a drawing into a competition concerning the environment. Not suprisingly, this drawing flowed on from the Interference project which, I feel I could still continue exploring. I had some quality photograps taken by artist Tim Gresham of the entry and to keep a record of some work I have recently sold - these photos will be added to my site soon.
This project peers into the condition of nature, environmental degradation and humanity's perception and relations with nature. Doubt and debate surround us, generated by the media, politics and environmental groups, on many varied environmental topics.
Present in the works are elements of chemical symbols, distortion or manipulation to nudge the viewer out of the "omfort zone of the familiar and expected in nature and explore the different ways people choose to �see" the natural world and the state of the environment. On show will be etchings, drawings, photography and overlayed, etched perspex plates.
The project was something different to what I usually do. I have been experimenting with the layering of paper for some time and this gave me the occasion to make something on a larger scale. The organic shapes sitting against the glass, are made of around 4 to 5 layers to give depth and a sculptural effect to the installation.