This August, Artereal Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings and prints which reimagine the invisible minutiae of our world, transforming previously unseen matter into evocative and ethereal abstract works which beautiful though they may seem, are nonetheless grounded in science and digital technologies.
Through the looking glass presents two new series by Polish born, Sydney-based artist Elwira Skowrońska. This exclusively online exhibition includes 12 new paintings from the series Kolor which the artist began in 2014, alongside 6 new print based works from Spectrum, a series newly completed in 2020.
From a distance my works appear cloudlike but as we draw closer they arouse a sense of wonder by unlocking the mystery of minutiae that echo the world of recent scientific discoveries such as the Higgs Boson particle.
“Through the looking glass invites the viewer into a world that reimagines the building blocks of matter as an invisible field of minutiae, echoing recent scientific discoveries such as the Higgs Boson particle. The current pandemic has made us increasingly aware of the ubiquitous power of such minutiae. While we cannot perceive these minutiae directly, like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in “Through the looking glass”, we can see these otherworldly objects through the looking glass of digital technology to illuminate them in an entirely new light. To do so, I use algorithmic coding to transform the visible world into particle components. I transcode these particles across pictorial and screen surfaces to evoke the spatial dynamics of these particle worlds, conjuring a cauldron of energy invisible to the naked human eye. The resulting works visualise these dynamics as having an alluring and generative autonomy, immersing the viewer in unforeseen spatial experiences.”
The subject of my artwork is the invisible sublime world that surrounds us at micro-scale. I investigate this through landscapes of nano worlds using a matrix of dots and pixels and the dynamic flux of spaces between them. It is underpinned by an approach that integrates a scientific study of Neo-Impressionist painting techniques and computer graphic imagery, to uncover the sub-visible material world that we inhabit.
I have been intrigued by the world beyond what the eye can see ever since I was a child. The current pandemic intensified this research. Everyday life under Covid-19 has confirmed the importance of understanding the micro world as a visually alluring yet terrifying infinity of minutiae. This new sublime is radically different from the traditional sublime of spectacular large-scale objects explored by Romantic artists and philosophers. In my work the sublime of minutiae is a chaotic yet tranquil vortex of particles interacting in an immersive space. It is based on recent scientific discoveries in biology and physics that reveal the invisible world of micro reality as far more determinant of the everyday world than we could ever imagine.
This research culminated in Spectrum and Kolor where my study of the micro world intersected with my fascination with the poetry of minutiae. Both series use as their starting point the capture and magnification of digitally coded images.
In the Kolor series, I compose a landscape of colour specks whose pulsating intensity suggest the unseen deep space beneath its pictorial surface. Focusing on any speck immediately forces our eyes onto those adjacent, creating a cascade of oscillating minutiae that mesmerise our focus and help us reimagine the material world.
I painted fields of minute colour specks across paper surfaces based on translating static and moving digital images into pictorial form. The resulting pulsating intensities create a cascade of oscillating minutiae that mesmerise our attention and suggest the micro-space beneath. The brush points are minimal yet reveal the meticulous focus of my hand as it creates a rainbow of dots that navigate us into the micro-materiality of the world.
In the Spectrum series, I float a duratrans film over a metallic print to create a double layered screen space of interacting particles to evoke the dynamic dispersion of light within these micro-worlds. As we move our eyes across its surface, it prismatically refracts waves of colour in captivating ways.
Spectrum is my most recent response to the micro reality of Covid-19, exploring its disruptive and dynamic nature. It comprises a duratrans film with a computer graphic generated image of particles, floating over a metallic print in a perspex box. Creating a double layered space of interacting particles it evokes the unpredictable nature of this world. As we move our eyes across the face of the box, particle waves are refracted in unexpected ways, creating fluid streams of light that mutate as they interact with each other.
Spectrum allows us to navigate into the interior of this micro world. As we gaze through the side of the box, we are confronted with another worldly space populated by bands of unexpected chromatic spectrums. Like Alice in the novel Through the looking glass, it propels us to dive beneath the visible, to befriend the invisible as a pulsating galaxy of micro-worlds that escape our grasp, forcing us to look again at the world we thought we knew.
It allows us touch an ungraspable world that escapes our sight but dominates, just like Covid-19. In doing so, it imaginatively replicates a beautiful yet terrifying sublime that breaches and overwhelms what we believe is the visible world.”
Elwira Skowronska – Artist Statement (2020)
I make these works as a way of transforming the notion of the visible world as a large-scale infinite space, revealing instead its parallel existence as a micro-scale infinity. I would like the viewer to be able to actively immerse themselves in an experience that mirrors looking up at a star filled pulsating night sky.
Born in Poland.
Lives and works in Sydney, Australia.
Elwira Skowronska is an emerging artist, having completed a Master of Fine Arts at National Art School, Sydney and a PhD at the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. Her work engages with the most recent developments in digital technologies and the philosophy of the sublime, while integrating key insights from artistic and scientific explorations into the relationship between images and the sub-visible world of infinity.
Elwira Skowronska’s practice incorporates painting, installation and computer graphic video. The work has been curatorially selected for three prestigious international group exhibitions, four art fairs and two solo shows in commercial galleries. These range from ZKM, Media Museum, Karlsruhe, Europe’s most prestigious digital art museum, and Art Cologne, one of the world’s leading art fairs. Distinguished curators who have selected her work include Peter Weibel (ZKM) and Daniel Hug (Art Cologne).
These works include the interactive digital artwork “Pixels” exploring the way user driven images can enhance the quality of sensorial experience. This involved animating computer notations using a real-time algorithmically driven programming language. The end result was an immersive experience where thousands of independently minded streams of particles behaved dynamically in their interaction with viewers, enabling the viewers to collaboratively reassemble the particles and create unique virtual worlds. The work was developed across iterations for international venues including the Sydney Film Festival and Experimenta, Heilbronn, Germany. “Pixels” formed part of my practice-based PhD study that explored the concept of the digital sublime. This study, using a range of computationally based paintings, prints and videos, investigated how new nano technologies enable us to reimagine infinity not simply as belonging to the immensities of visible space but also the world of minutiae discovered by Quantum Mechanics.
The below exhibition features a selection of recent paintings by Elwira Skowrońska. If you would also like to view a catalogue showcasing Elwira Skowrońska’s large scale paintings from her 2019 series Minutiae please click here.