2017 – Galerie Sandhofer, Austria

Art historian Sandra Zagajna wrote about the exhibition:

The outside world provides stimuli for living and functioning in a society. Depending on the source of interest of the reality observer, it may have either a destructive or positive impact, facilitate or defer progress. Yet, it always provokes a reaction of the spectator. In her paintings, Justyna Pennards-Sycz  brings out the magic of the reality, picturing it in an extraordinary, particularly unreal manner. She poetically creates sometimes a fairy-tale like, and sometimes mysterious and disturbing alternative for the visual realism of the world.

The exhibition of Sandhofer Gallery presents the works of several painting cycles of Justyna Pennards-Sycz, from 2012 onwards. Each of them designates a variety of inspirations dear to the artist. The works conceptualized as abstract, are the expression of the painter’s authentic feelings and experiences, materialised clearly through pictures in her mind.

The predominant inspiration of the painter came forth at the beginning of her creative path, during the yearly stay in the south of France. The Mediterranean sun, adding warm shine to the objects and constraints of the beautiful landscape, contributed to the prominent role of chiaroscuro in her whole artistic output. Even if, at first glance, one cannot see the light, the eye of the observant spectator will always behold it anyway.

Apart from the sun soaked landscapes, the artist’s works are also made of spaces full of stylised, oriental plants and exotic animals. The sea world with its unexplored depths and fantastic creatures, fascinating and mysterious Japan, unknown lands, the air of night – all these constitute the secret and incomprehensible, puzzling elements of the reality which fascinate the painter. Among them appear seemingly familiar components of everyday life such as the urban space with office blocks and neon lights, which physically masks loneliness of man and inferiority of humankind in relationship to limitless architecture.

Liberating from the patterns and limitations imposed within the course of art studies in the Netherlands, induced by the revolutionary work of Fiona Rae, had a major  impact on the art of Justyna Pennards-Sycz. Watching her work as well as that of other artists unlimited in their artistic means such as Daniel Richter or David Hockney, allowed her to both overcome own limitations and develop the characteristic freedom of expression.

The artist covers the big and small-sized paintings with acrylic paints, at times also uses acrylic markers, pencil or charcoal. She applies alternately long and broad or short and jerky brushwork. The sketch is brought out straight off with the paint on canvas as the first layer of a work. This creates the impression of the work  being painted in a fast and energetic manner, without much theoretic brooding. Having initially finished the painting , the artist gives it a thorough and long analysis, which frequently results in some corrections or retouching. The colour palette is very rich. The scheme is often vivid, almost neon, highlighting the contrast of borderline warm and cold shades. Here the colour is not merely a strong accent, a visual asset. The painter is guided by the knowledge of applying colours, perspective or optics and their functions on canvas. This enables her to denote the three dimensional play of light and shadow even more explicitly.

The abstract mode of the presentations manifests itself in the titles, which get interpreted on canvas in a completely subjective and individual way. The given titles do connote an object or space, hardly ever however, render the real images. Thus, exotic animals become apparent in the habitat implying the jungle, large green colour patches modeled on a natural landscape or cubic prisms emerging from the dark like a night city of neon lights.

The aim of the artist is to evoke strong emotion by means of a painting which is visually interesting and abounds in different interpretations. The art is not meant to be easy in reception, but to make the beholders take a stand, leaving no one indifferent. It is to provide food for thought on what the reality is and how it can be presented in different ways. Perhaps the titled ” Light will guide you” to a discovery of the core of things in the world around us.

Sandra Zagajna

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