Cantata - NG Gallery

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” Henry Ward Beecher 1813-1887

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. 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 defied 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. In her current exhibition Cantata, 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. Having been drawn to figuration and portraiture over the past 4 years, Cantata seemingly demonstrates Smarzak’s return to abstraction where works emanate a high degree of spirituality.

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 and vocalises the diversity of the Australian landscape. Referring to the seasonal transition from autumn into winter, Smarzak’s paintings illuminate the lyrical movements of her surrounding environment.

A sense of verticality dominates Cantata reminiscent of the towering trees we find in nature and we are drawn to the works rustic quality. Painting to gain freedom from the ins and outs of everyday life, Smarzak has created a body of work that evokes a feeling of serenity wooing us into a pensive reverie. Mariola Smarzak has indeed dipped her brush into her own soul and delicately painted her experience of the landscape into her pictures.

The Night Started to Seal V

Oil on Canvas 2013