Notwithstanding her traditional craft, Paulina Stasik is one of the most original painters of the younger generation. For several years she has consistently sublimated her painterly diction. She creates multi-layered, etherical and sensuous canvases which in a contemporary and subjective fashion deconstruct the female nude. Stasik is interested in the body as a medium conducting spiritual, sexual and cultural energy, but liberated from the binary perspective. She pursues a quest for an ideal, androgynous body of carnal and mythological quality. Her paintings essay a return to a lost, supra-sexual unity. The interwoven figures, fragments of bodies and faces, allude to myths of the creation of the world out of a dismembered human being. These quests are overseen by the Shaman presented in one of the paintings, whose image suggests the many-armed figure of the Hindu goddess Shiva and a woman in numerous forms.
Stasik’s paintings, refined in painterly terms, emanate a distinct erotic aura and spiritual force. Their characteristic range of hues and modelling result from a precise, time-consuming painting process involving superimposition of layer upon layer of glazings of paint.
Stasik’s paintings assume solemnity from their visionary character and peculiar gravity. The figures, their faces and bodies, are subjected to an elaborate idealization, while the spaces in which they are presented are stripped of distinct features. It is an abyss, a vastness, a watery depth, a kind of prenatal sanctuary glowing with a soft light—of daybreak or dusk. The depiction of the female figure here carries cultural references with clear reminiscences of classical sculpture. At the same time, they are life studies of the body with a nearly erotic focus on its sensitive parts: palms, faces, torsos. Stasik fluently guides her heroines between the real and symbolic worlds, between life and eternity, between ecstasy, rapture, delight and lethargy, sleep, silence. These paintings elaborate a revived matriarchal mythology where the key qualities are an awareness of the body, shared feeling, and relationships based on empathy.
Paulina Stasik (born 1990) is a graduate of the Faculty of Painting at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where she also completed her doctorate in 2020. Among other venues, her works have been presented in individual shows at Galeria Wozownia (Toruń, 2018 and 2020), Galeria Henryk (Kraków, 2018) and Shefter Gallery (Kraków, 2019), and in the prominent exhibition Paint, also known as Blood at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2019). The exhibition Protectresses is the artist’s first individual show in Warsaw.