Alicja Habisiak-Matczak was the curator of the exhibition in Lodes and is now an exhibiting artist at Headbones Gallery. (Photo submitted)

Vernon gallery hosts Polish talent

Opening reception for INTERlacing June 16 at Headbones Gallery

Julie Oakes

Special to The Morning Star

Twelve Canadian artists made up the exhibition INTERwoven: New Canadian Perspectives into: Textile + Printmaking that showed first in Lodz, Poland at the KOBRO Gallery, Strezminski Academy of Fine Art and then in Warsaw at The Lowicka Art Center Gallery.

A reduced version of this exhibition is at Headbones Gallery until June 9.

The Polish exhibition experience was absolutely positive and Headbones Gallery decided to reciprocate by hosting an exhibition of Polish artists and teachers of the Academy under the auspices of the artist/curator (or just Head of the Intaglio Techniques Studio or coordinator of summer courses PATA) of KOBRO Gallery, Alicja Habisiak-Matczak.

Since the connection continues to reinforce the interchange, they decided to call this show INTERlacing: Oskar Gorzkiewicz, Tomasz Matczak, Alicja Habisiak-Matczak, Witold Warzywoda and Jolanta Rudzka Habisiak.

Canada and Poland have had a longstanding and fortuitous relationship as we discovered through both the academy and the Canadian embassy in Poland. INTERlacing furthers this conversation between the two countries through a fine distillation, a cultural essence — a high-calibre contemporary exhibition that dissolves the boundaries between countries to present a united front of excellence.

Gorzkiewicz links into an alternative culture couching his imagery in cityscapes. With a style that is reminiscent of tattoos or illustration, he uses a focused excessive detailing. Etchings require incising into the ground of a metal plate with a sharp tool much like the tattoo artist’s needle so that the gesture while making an etching is similar – bent over a surface with intense concentration, close and concentrating. Not a beat can be skipped, yet objectivity is crucial for each part contributes to a whole that can only be realized once the image is printed much like the modern primitive (biker, hipster, gang member or sentimentalist) who places secret messages within the design that can be read in entirety only by those who know the language.

Matczak also presents a detailed surface where reference is gleaned through the title for the first impression is of a colour field, atmospheric and layered. The perspective is vague and the dimensions of space infinitely possible. This Gaussian veil doesn’t exclude but beckons. Many of the titles refer to the outdoors and the weather where place is a surround rather than a vista (Blizzard, Fog, At Daybreak, At Dusk, Golden Afternoon). After the Wind suggests the dramatic dissembling of bits of stuff whirling in the air: squinting to see the matter better parallels the narrowing of the eyes in protection against a dust storm. Matczak submerges the viewer in pictorial space as in The Abyss of Thought, like a skyward reverie.

We saw Habisiak-Matczak’s solo exhibition with some of the salt aquatint etchings that will be at Headbones Gallery for Interlacing. It is impossible to get a sense of the rich blacks, a meter of excellence in this technique, other than with a first-hand viewing. The potential for a sensuous range of these deep dark velvety tones just may have been the impetus for the comic pick-up phrase, “Let me show you my etchings.” With a strong architectonic structuring of the picture plane, Habisiak-Matczak creates urban-scapes that are Utopian with futuristic promise but the allure seems shady, more an invitation for trouble than comfort.

Warzywoda has an active practice as an ambassador and facilitator for the promotion of Polish printmaking both as an academic educator and also through the influence of his works upon emerging artists. He has been head of the Studio of Lithographic Techniques since 2000 and between 2013-2015 was running the International Summer Courses in Printmaking and Textile Art held by the Academy in cooperation with KAUS Urbino Al. He is conversant with the beneficial interchange of international exposure. His work examines both natural and historical resources within a pop context.

Rudzka Habisiak’s practice has been rigorous with large scale installations in paper, silk and mixed media that can occupy immense museum galleries. By using multiple elements, she establishes a large area of influence with an aesthetic of beauty so that order, harmony and balance over-takes the chaos of modern living. The circular configuration of Alphabet invokes coded recipes or mantras that like a Mandela or labyrinth tracks a path to a more divine knowledge. Not adverse to playing her feminine — or feminist – cards, she too seduces and in doing so breaks down guards of alienation that have been erected against a more refined way of being. That Alicja (the velvety seductress) is her daughter is a testament to the inherent power of centered women.

The public opening reception for INTERlacing is June 16 from 2-5 p.m. when Headbones Gallery invites all to meet Gorzkiewicz, Matczak, Habisiak-Matczak and Rudzka Habisiak for a summertime Royal High Tea with our visiting art dignitaries from Poland. The work is on display until Aug. 1.


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