Elzbieta Krawecka: Aglow
Bugera Matheson Gallery, Edmonton, AB -
BUGERA MATHESON GALLERY, Edmonton AB - Nov 16 - 30
by Michael Turner
When describing a landscape painting, its greatest compliment might have less to do with the accuracy of the work’s geographical features than with those parts of speech known as abstract nouns. Such was the case in the St. John’s Telegram on August 16, 2013, when the headline above an Elzbieta Krawecka profile read: “Motion. Fluidity. Solitude.” Nice enough to have these evocations atop a generously illustrated newspaper article, but to have a period after each makes this description nothing short of definitive.
Born in Kraków, Poland, in 1971, Krawecka travelled with her family to Kuwait before settling in Toronto, where she attended the Ontario College of Art and Design. During her third year she participated in the school’s Off-Campus Studies Program in Florence. Travel has continued to play a part in Krawecka’s paintings: not so much in registering the specifi cities of place, but in evoking the conditions these places inspire. On her website she writes: “Within these paintings, movement and space pose a question, which pertains to entering a work where place and time are not defined…”
In her current exhibition, with many works inspired by the 17th-century Dutch landscape tradition, we see evidence of Krawecka’s interest in past masters like Constable, Caravaggio, Monet and Turner, with nods to 19th-century Polish painters Chelmonski, Gierymski and Kotsis. The title work, Aglow (2019), is a highlight: a 40-inch-square oil on panel pushing match between sky and ground, sun and clouds, with the victor, as it were, bearing witness to a remarkable display of technical prowess and poetic intensity.