Christine Polowyj

Christine Polowyj

Art Exhibition previously on at Brunswick Street Gallery in Fitzroy-Collingwood precinct, Victoria, Australia. Published by anonymous on Sunday 09 December 2007. Friday 07 December 2007 to Thursday 20 December 2007.

Christine Polowyj image

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Each artwork in this exhibition is part of a transistional body of work moving on from Christine Polowyj's ‘year of heads’ series back to more figurative work. These works in particular focus on communication: 'what i'm thinking, what I’d like the artwork to say or represent and making this work within the aesthetic ideal'

Each artwork is part of a transistional body of work moving on from my ‘year of heads’ back to more figurative work. These works in particular focus on communication: what I’m thinking, what I’d like the artwork to say or represent and making this work within the aesthetic ideal.
I don’t really start painting pictures about “things”, they end up becoming about “things”. I start out with a basic figure or background and it goes from there. Usually there are about 2-3 different paintings underneath the final image, as the development of each work unfolds in real time. This can be rather frustrating, but ultimately very rewarding as I end up with an image I could not have conceptualised in a sketch – plus sketching all the details out beforehand leaves me to feel that painting becomes a perfunctory chore, or a purely unemotional technical exercise.
I find the way I work opens me up to discoveries each time: in technique, colour arrangement, composition, message/concept. These discoveries get dragged up from the murky depths of my mind, so I’m consciously aware at the end of the process of what I was subconciously setting out to do. In a word, there’s clarity once the artwork is completed.

1) “Anatomy of Behaviour”
I wanted to complete this work before I headed off to Art Sydney this year. I had about two days. It was pretty stressful, but like a mad motivating stress. Anyway, it got completed and I ended up selling to a Sydney buyer after he viewed it on my camera. This piece is largely a compositional exercise, but the emotional energy and title comes from how extremely I was reacting to things at the time I was completing this piece.
2) “The Phone Call”
The titles drift in to my mind as I paint. I notice, the more I paint, more titles come to me. It’s another form of real-time development of the artwork as the title sets the stage for the story of the artwork. This piece started out with a completely different figure and background. Sometimes there will be bits of the artwork that work really well, but don’t contribute to the whole, so I have to paint over them – it’s a lesson in letting go. This piece is the start of me using oil pastels a lot in the background, evident in the last two pieces of this series.
3) “Tactics”
This painting started out with a much more realistic-looking figure, but it wasn’t working, she looked to “soft”; plus I wasn’t sure what on earth I was trying to communicate. One afternoon an idea popped into my head: combining the all-to-present head games of the general public with the symbolism and aesthetic of tribal war paint. This realisation brought the piece together and a story started to form and the edges on the figure became harder, rougher. For me, it’s a comment about how weight loss is a tactic for a number of people to reach their goals (and more broadly, that they can reach them because of this tactic).
4) “Constitution”
The election was called just before I started this piece. There was relief as the expectations, disquiet and uncertainty had been building in society for a long time. I started out painting a basic ribcage and lungs on the torso. That didn’t work, so they became one lung, stomach and liver. Then the figure’s colour changed. I didn’t even know what to do with the head at this point. Then he got a spine. Then some ribs, which didn’t work so they became a chest plate and vertical ribs – almost like a cage for his ‘self’, protecting his emotional vitals. I had thought of the title earlier in the piece: what began taking shape on the canvas was matching up with the concept of “constitution” – what makes us up as individuals, and as nations and how we guard and protect ourselves.

Location

Brunswick Street Gallery, 332 Brunswick St
Wed-Sun 11am-6pm