I was born in 1972, Gdańsk, Poland. In 1999 I completed my studies at
the Academy of Fine Art in Gdańsk and obtained a Masters Degree in Painting in professor Maciej Świeszewski's atelier.
Signs that appear in my works come from my imagination. When being enchanted by nature I synthesize this world and portray it in the form of imaginary symbols. Among signs that I use there are ones that may be explained in relation to Christian, Egyptian or Greek symbology - symbols of fish, eye or wings; but also those that bear no relation to concrete forms - abstract symbols composing specific, complex systems like archaic, ideographic scriptures. Those signs are not symbols that should be directly read, they rather represent signs that are riddles tempting viewer's imagination. They lead back to ancient mystique but without the signposts.
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Brian Sherwin talk with Kasia Blekiewicz.
Kasia Blekiewicz is an artist who has exhibited internationally. Kasia was born in 1972 in Gdansk, Poland. She completed her studies at the Academy of Fine Art in Gdansk and obtained a Masters Degree in Painting from the Maciej Swieszewski atelier. Kasia is interested in capturing aspects of nature and various cultures in her work. Her goal is to create images that have a message of peace.
Brian Sherwin: Kasia, you attended the Academy of Fine Art in Gdansk. Who were your mentors? Can you tell us about the art department?
Kasia Blekiewicz: The first teacher who connected me to art was my husband. I was his student, in the second year of my studies. He required from me a lot of work so I hope that it brought positive effects. He taught me abstract perception of nature. He put pressure on basic principles of composing the picture, something what was important for Vassily Kandinsky in his theory of art.
Concerning the art department in my Academy- after passing the exams we had the choice of five ateliers. Studies continue for five years. The first two regard basic education, traditional, with strong pressure on drawing techniques. The next three years was focused on individual development. After this period takes place a defense of master's dissertation.
We have the following departments in the Academy: Painting, Graphic art, Architecture, Industrial design and Sculpture. Apart from practical work there are also theoretical activities- philosophy, history of art, esthetics, technology of painting etc.
BS: You also studied under Maciej Swieszewski. Can you tell us about your training at the atelier?
KB: Maciej Swieszewski is a wonderful professor. He has a specific gift talking with students. When he gives advice regarding artworks it doesn't offend the listener. It is a well-known fact, that artists are sensitive. However, this doesn't exclude his professionalism. He sets high requirement and demands hard work from students. Maciej's corrections are concrete and right, always edifying. My studies in this atelier were a pleasure for me.
BS: Kasia, you have stated the following about your artistic philosophy: "signs that appear in my works come from my imagination.When being enchanted by nature I synthesize this world and portray it in the form of imaginary symbols.". Can you go into further detail on how nature inspires your work? Do you feel a spiritual connection with nature?
KB: The main source of my inspiration comes from my fascination with ancient art. I'm very interested in the art and culture of Egypt, Greece, Etruscan- their murals, sculptures and architecture.This art presented nature, glorified it. I'm not going to do it as they did. Instead, I transform my view of nature from my personal language.
Yes of course I feel a spiritual connection with nature. God created it for our needs, is it possible to feel differently?We all are small elements of one big wholeness. Everyone of us fulfills a different role. My role is to be an artist.
BS: When I view your work I can see the traditions of your homeland as well. So your work is a combination of traditions, including the traditions of Poland. Why did you decide to juxtapose these traditions?
KB: The traditions which I present on my canvas are not confined to my homeland. I draw from the above mentioned cultures, Mediterranean art of old, and sometimes from the Asian cultures.Generally I feel as if I'm a universal child, so I draw from our old civilizations as if they are one whole.
Why did I decide to juxtapose these traditions? When I was a child I knew that I would be an archaeologist or artist. People come into this world with certain interests and continue it in life. I believe and I know, that we continue our old ways. My way is painting and a fascination of ancient cultures.
BS: Your paintings often involve botanic imagery... trees.... various plants- symbols of life. Would you say that your art is about life?
KB: Botanic motifs in my paintings are very important, one of them is tree. In universal symbolism tree is considered like a metaphor of cosmic life, beauty, fairness, knowledge. Pliniusz wrote, that trees were the first temples of humans. In old Greek religion they considered trees sacred. In their faith, trees were places where various gods and nymphs lived, while in Christian symbolism the tree means salvation.
I present in my works different symbols. For example, figure of circle, sun, vase. I try to describe them in detail with one of my paintings as an example, although I don't like to do it, because it deprives the element of mystery in my work. I would like to give viewer's the possibility of interpretation.
In my piece, "Rondo" I present a central situated figure of a circle with the Sun in the middle. The circle means universe , cosmos and eternity. Sun life-giving energy , endlessness, light. Over the Sun is the eye -symbol of God, below fish - Christ, life and immortality. The Background for mentioned elements is abstract landscape in red colouring.
BS: Kasia, what message do you want to send to people who view your work? Is your message one of peace?
KB: I would like to send to people a message of peace. I want people to enjoy nature andto try and look for the beautiful surroundings in their lives.
BS: Finally, do you have any upcoming exhibitions? Where will you be exhibiting your art next?
KB: I will take part in the Edinburgh Art Festival with a group of Polish artists. We will present our works in the Art Space Gallery. The title of the exhibition is "Inspiring Humanity".
I hope that you have enjoyed learning about Kasia and her art. Be sure to join her network if you become a member of the myartspace.com community.
Take care, Stay true,