One only has to catch a mere glance of Mariola Smarzak’s latest body of work to see how clearly Beecher’s insight resonates with her artistic practice. Enriching her densely layered canvases with a sense of romanticism, Smarzak delivers an evocative illusion of space and obscurities of meaning.
Smarzak’s abstract landscapes evoke a mood rather than places or objects. Forms reminiscent of leafless trees and charcoal cobwebs drift across grey and burnt sienna spaces. The intensely layered, overlapped canvases, washed out with diluted paint, become faded, muted and ultimately mysterious. Smarzak’s work has a distinct poetic quality. There is a sense of rhythm rather than rhyme, an asymmetry suggestive of free flow verse, an evocative illusion of space and ambiguity of meaning. The contemplative process of returning, leaving, remembering and rebuilding is mirrored in her creative process of cancelling, adding and inventing anew.
In her current exhibition New Works, Smarzak offers deeply impressionistic work founded on the abstraction of landscape. For Smarzak the works refer to her sensory experience of a certain time and place – often imbuing the paintings with a dreamlike quality. Featuring an exploration of the land through a personal narrative, Smarzak’s work, with its floating planes of colour and delicate brushwork, is an ode to all things beautiful. The broad colour spectrum ranges from muted pastels to earthy ochres, vocalising the diversity that all landscapes have on offer.
Completing her MFA at UNSW’s College of Fine Arts in 1997 Smarzak has continued to delight audiences both in Australia and internationally with work that is never defined or limited by stylistic boundaries. Regularly selected for numerous significant prizes in Australia some of which include the Jenny Brit Award, Portia Geach Memorial Award, and the Salon Des Refuses, the artist’s work is popular amongst corporate and private collectors.
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