Faceless Women and Fungi – The Art of Ewa Juszkiewicz

Wojtek Rozdzenski 17 April 2018 min Read

How many portraits of faceless women, with fungi in place of their heads have you ever seen? None? Well, until now, that is. [caption id="attachment_11381" align="aligncenter" width="702"]Ewa Juszkiewicz, Portrait of a lady, 2013, 92 x 73 cm faceless women Ewa Juszkiewicz, Portrait of a lady, 2013, 92 x 73 cm[/caption]

The Artist

Ewa Juszkiewicz (born 1984 in Gdansk, Poland) is an award-winning polish artist, predominantly famous for her paintings. She focuses on reinterpreting classic, historic female portraits so that the figures’ heads are replaced by fungi, flowers, bugs, intricate draperies or other surprising, yet disturbing forms. The faceless women are her signature. [caption id="attachment_11382" align="aligncenter" width="693"]Ewa Juszkiewicz, Maria, 130x100 cm, oil on canvas, 2013,art of Ewa Juszkiewicz faceless women Ewa Juszkiewicz, Maria, 130x100 cm, oil on canvas, 2013, from a private collection of Tomasz Pasiek[/caption]

Reimagining classical portrait

Her work is sometimes described as feminist appropriation art, as she reimagines classical portraiture, created in a vast majority by male painters, from a masculine point of view and gives those paintings a new life by detaching them from their original form and meanings. [caption id="attachment_11383" align="aligncenter" width="718"]Ewa Juszkiewicz, Portrait of Carol Rama, 50x40 cm, oil on canvas, 2014, art of Ewa Juszkiewicz faceless women Ewa Juszkiewicz, Portrait of Carol Rama, 50x40 cm, oil on canvas, 2014, from a private collection of Weronika Szwarc-Bronikowska[/caption] The influence of Flemish art on her is clearly visible both in the colors and composition of the paintings and in the technical mastery that she presents as an artist.

Portraits of faceless women

The deformed figures in her works pose many questions about our human nature and culture. They contest traditional ideas of beauty and harmony, challenging the boundaries of our acceptance. [caption id="attachment_11385" align="aligncenter" width="736"]Ewa Juszkiewicz, Sisters, 142x116 cm, oil on canvas, 2014, from private collection of Adam Klonkowski faceless women art of Ewa Juszkiewicz Ewa Juszkiewicz, Sisters, 142x116 cm, oil on canvas, 2014, from a private collection of Adam Klonkowski[/caption] Moreover, in all their strangeness they also represent the natural fear of things so alien. One finds the portrayed figures disturbing, as they represent something to which we are so unaccustomed. By removing the faces of the depicted women, she completely changes the perspective with which one looks at the works. Instead of admiring the perfect beauty of the models, viewing them from the male point of view in which the portrayed women were often objectified and had their role diminished, the depersonalization is in that case empowerment. By freeing the women in her paintings from the rigors of ideal beauty, she gives them a new life in which they are completely autonomous, unlike the women in the original paintings which inspired Juszkiewicz. Through her art, Ewa Juszkiewicz reminds us like no other, that even today beauty can be both a blessing and a curse.   All the reproductions come from the artist, represented by Lokal_30. To see more of her paintings, be sure to visit her website

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