22 czerwca, 2021

„A woman in the embrace of nature”, Michał Czuba and Sławomir Zięba – painting and sculpture, 13-25.06.2021

(No) hope – with the title of the pandemic Cracow Art Week Krakers 2021, as part of which we organized this exhibition in our gallery.

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Is it that bad? Is there really no hope? Is a new world just being created? What will it be like? What will remain from previous years and what new issues will we face?

Recently, there are two hottest topics: the ecological catastrophe that is threatening our planet and the increasingly clear manifestation of women’s power. These issues are very extensive.

The land that we have subjugated to ourselves according to our needs using very invasive methods is fed up with our interference. We have polluted the seas and oceans, poisoned drinking water, acidified groundwater and the atmosphere, devastated protected areas, cleared vast areas of forests, killed many species of animals, insects and plants, destroyed the ozone layer, disrupted many ecosystems, … and we could replace ours for a long time offenses. As a result of such drastic changes in nature, we ourselves fell victim to them, because it all affects our health and lifestyle. One of the consequences is the appearance of the covid-19 virus, which stopped the passage of time, trapped us in our homes and caused another disaster, this time an economic one, the tragic consequences of which will be felt for a long time to come.

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Michał Czuba „Gesture of nature I”, 175×215 cm, oil and pigment on board, 2020 r.

Women are speaking with an ever stronger voice in recent years. They want to exist in areas where their role is marginalized. They want to decide on things that only concern them. They are getting stronger and fighting for their position and rights. If only they governed the world, would it look different? Better? It is the woman who gives life. It is she who cares for the home, children and family. It is she who often takes on her shoulders a lot of tasks to be completed within 24 hours. Work and home require a lot from her, and yet she also needs the so-called time for yourself. Because in everyday stress and rush, there is no time to take care of self-development, beauty care or proper rest. Women lose the delicacy of their nature because it no longer harmonizes with what the world expects of them. On the other hand, femininity and charm are highly valued by men. And how to reconcile it all… ..the task is difficult.

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Sławomir Zięba „Recumbent”, 50x20x20 cm, patinated plaster, granite, 2018 r.

With the exhibition „Woman in the Embrace of Nature” we would like to pay tribute to both women and nature. After all, man is inextricably united with it, although he sometimes forgets it.

We build almost a scenery in the gallery where this meeting takes place. Pictures by Michał Czuba from the series „Gesture of nature” invite us to the mysterious but relaxing world of flora. This world is very real, but in many places also totally abstract, imaginary, built from the artist’s memory of the places he visited, but also from the desire to create it in his own way, a bit out of unconsciousness, allowing himself to be guided by inspiration, his own hand and painting gesture. The huge format of the works, but largely the technique they are painted – oil paint and pigment – create the impression that we can almost enter them like Alice in Wonderland and feel the stalks of scaled flowers and plants rubbing against us, hear insects buzzing in their buds, feel the smell of damp mosses and ferns, heated earth, hear the chirping of birds. The texture of the paint and pigment enhances the real feeling of this place. The viewer can also look for species of flowers and trees known to him. Lighter colors piercing the splashes of color give the impression of sunlight. In a moment we are drowning in the darkness of a dense forest, feeling a completely different mood. The whole harmoniously harmonizes with each other, giving rest to our senses. We still play green!

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Michał Czuba „Gesture of nature III”, oil and pigment on the board, 175×200 cm, 2020 r.

And in this soothing scenery we find muslin, ethereal and subtle women by Sławomir Zięba – sculptures made of patinated plaster. Their illuminated, alabaster-white silhouettes feel comfortable in such surroundings. That is why they throw off the unnatural while remaining almost naked and defenseless. They can then come into being with their ideal bodies in the bosom of nature, delighting us with the wonderful work of God which is a woman. In this case, we get to know the sensitivity of the young artist and an attempt at his own interpretation of the subject. With his touch and thought, as well as adding and subtracting sculptural material, he brings to life a woman who emerges from the non-existence of the unknown matter surrounding her. So there is still little room for our own imaginations. When we are dealing with art, various senses awaken in us and ask for food. The eyes guide us through the meanders of taut muscles of slender legs and shapely wrists, but touch can complement these sensations. Working with the body, the artist has to explore human anatomy. Get to know the mechanism of movement and understand it in order to be able to reflect its dynamics. Even the static representation of the pose makes the movement noticeable. The situation seems to be as if we suddenly became intruders when she takes off her airy T-shirt or when she takes a foam bath.

Sławomir Zięba, Kąpiąca się, 2020
Sławomir Zięba, Iris from the Bathing Woman series, 87x46x40 cm, patinated plaster, 2020 r.

And this is how a woman meets nature. Both beautiful and changeable. Both are as strong as they are delicately.

The only question is whether we can save them both from non-existence. Losing any of them will be an irreparable loss for our planet. Many one-of-a-kind places have already disappeared from the face of the earth. Just as some female characteristics have been diminished, ridiculed or mocked because they fail to defend themselves in today’s brutal world.

Is there, then, hope for a more beautiful world with respect for it and man’s respect for man? Will we draw the right conclusions from the pandemic that will lead us to stop all destruction? Apparently, hope is the last to die, but without our action, nothing will succeed. Certainly, art can be our ally in this fight. The world doesn’t make sense without it.

Ewa Kawałko

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Born in 1991 in Piotrków Trybunalski. He lives and works in Łódź, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts at the Faculty of Graphics and Painting, in 2013-2018. His work includes painting, drawing and artistic graphics. Participant of many exhibitions, competitions and symposia. He is also a scholarship holder of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage for 2018/2019 for outstanding artistic achievements. Repeatedly awarded for his work, among others, in the XXXIV and XXXVI Competition for them. Władysław Strzemiński’s Fine Arts, the New Image New Views 2017 painting competition, and the 1st Triennial of Student Painting at BWA Rzeszów. He runs his own art studio in Łódź.

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Born in 1990 in Skomielna Czarna. From 2006, he studied at the State Secondary School of Arts in Krakow, which he graduated with honors. Then he studied at the Faculty of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. Diligent work and passion, reliable artistic development, participation in open-air workshops and competitions led to graduation in 2016 and resulted in the award of the diploma, which was presented at the exhibition at the Palace of Arts in Krakow. He is a member of the Association of Polish Artists and Designers. Sławomir Zięba works in the field of sculpture, drawing and painting. Has many individual and collective exhibitions. One of the sculptures can be seen in Miechów in the public space. Many works are in private collections in Poland and abroad. His works appear regularly on the auction market.