A common theme of transformation runs through Karina Wisniewska’s work as well as her life. Versatile like few other artists, Wisniewska is characterised by her intense desire to evolve, to grow and to explore. And so she does, constantly, as does her work alongside. By reinventing herself from acclaimed and award winning concert pianist to full time visual artist, whilst retaining her strong interests in writing, composing and philosophy, Karina Wisniewska can be regarded as a true ‘Renaissance woman’ of the contemporary art world. Her self-confessed inspiration Leonardo da Vinci comes as an unsurprising, yet inspired choice, and as a tribute from one multi-talent to another.
Followers of Wisniewska’s work will notice a new phase in her personal and professional development, brought to the fore in her latest show Soundscapes. Where previous series of work were characterised by a strong, even strict, sense of geometry and order, underlined by a palette of primary monochromes, Soundscape pieces are organic, flowing, vibrant and joyful – and, above all, intensely personal. We share an insight into the mood, the ‘vibe’ of the artist with every glance at a canvas, and participate in her sense of liberation, of letting go, and experiencing harmony with her surroundings rather than the desire to control and master.
Soundscapes are full of music. They hum, chime, sizzle, flow and echo to anyone who will pause and listen, thus creating a completely individual bond between work and viewer. With this connection between music and painting, Karina Wisniewska follows in the footsteps of some of the most highly regarded names in Abstract Expressionism, such as Jackson Pollock (1912-56), Willem de Kooning (1904-97) and Norman Lewis (1909-79), all of whom drew on their love of Jazz to inspire and drive their work. Earlier in the art historical canon, Vassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was also known for his appreciation of Arnold Schoenberg’s (1874-1951) atonal and avant-garde compositions.
Soundscapes also glow with energy and colour. Here we find memories of American ‘colour field’ painters, most notably the flat, minimalist canvases of Mark Rothko (1903-70) and his contemporary Barnett Newman (1905-70). Again, earlier experiments and a firm commitment to colour as the primary focus of an artwork can be found in the painting of Paul Klee (1879-1940), another incredibly versatile artist, who made colour the epicentre of his art after an enlightening trip to Tunis in Africa in 1914. The rectangular building blocks of Klee’s later, abstract works have also been associated with musical keys and harmonies.
At Karin Weber Gallery, Hong Kong, we are proud to be a part of Karina Wisniewska’s journey through life and art, having represented her since 2006. Soundscapes marks the culmination of one of several new artistic paths, and we are already impatient to learn what the next one will be – always conscious that the essence of Wisniewska, and her work, is transformation.