Basia Bańda

Sea and Mountains

November 29  –  January 30, 2019

You have to know how to use the accident, how to recognise it, how to control it, and ways to eliminate it so that the whole surface looks felt and born all at once.

Helen Frankenthaler (1994)

The Sea and Mountains exhibition features the most recent works by Basia Bańda. Her pieces, created in various techniques over the last years, demonstrate the relationship between the artist and nature. The observation of nature provides a pretext for reflection about human emotions, moods and doubts. The works on display can be perceived as, accumulated in the space of the gallery, travel notes and impressions of the admired landscapes.

The title of the exhibition refers to the canvas by Helen Frankenthaler, Mountains and Sea, of 1952. In the presented pictures, Bańda departs from her characteristic figurative art and heads towards abstract painting. In those works, the artist draws on the experiments in the spirit of the modernist premises of abstract expressionism. An ostensibly simple patch of colour is an effect of scrupulous attempts. However, as in nature, a consciously built composition can get out of hand. Accidents lead to new beginnings. During work on pictures, the reverses of the canvases started to reveal unexpected faces, which showed the painter a new direction for exploration. Reflections resulting from chemical processes and, in a more romantic approach, forces of nature dominated their prototypes on another side. Now they constitute deliberately finished, independent works. References to nature are rather symbolic, nonliteral, subconsciously received. Biomorphic forms, splashes of colour and geometric figures symbolically represent landscapes.

From among the exhibited paintings, a new vision of Basia Bańda’s artistic practice is taking shape: it is an agglomerate which consists of private reminiscences of travel, found objects and local archives documenting the everyday life of interwar health-resorts. Condensed in one space, they show us the world around through the artist’s eyes. Each work is a medium of stories collected during numerous trips – all the pieces, arranged in one coherent whole, offer us an expansive view, from the sea to the mountains.

Franciszek Smoręda