Mysterious Wise Woman in Paulina Ołowska’s Paintings
min Read6 November 2023
Paulina Ołowska, a prominent Polish artist known primarily for her paintings, is not one to be confined by artistic conventions. A fervor for reviving underappreciated aesthetics drives Ołowska, but her endeavors transcend the mere pursuit of visual pleasure. She is celebrated as a significant figure in Polish art, notably for exploring feminist themes.
However, her approach to feminism takes on unique and captivating forms – from the embodiment of Slavic goddesses to the enigmatic world of crosswords and even the curious realm of mushrooms. To unravel the depths of her artistic expressions, a journey through her previous works is an adventure.
After a long-time pursuit of forgotten leftovers of socialist modernism, after merging together old and modern faces of the post-communist state, Ołowska turned her eyes to the countryside. Not just any countryside, but the one he has lived and worked in for a couple of years. Rabka-Zdrój is a spa resort, a little town in the Polish mountains, whose golden age passed decades ago. It serves as a perfect background for her visual narrative.
Most of the paintings portray women characterized by their occupations. If you read Michel Houellebecq’s novel The Map and the Territory, you may remember a series of paintings by its fictional protagonist Jed Martin. Those paintings of professions might seem similar. But Ołowska’s works have nothing to do with a frigid analysis of social roles.
Visions of her heroines resemble stills from fashion magazines, elaborately posed and dressed. Ołowska is primarily concerned with a celebration of specialized fields of knowledge. Like mycology, a branch of biology studying fungi. She plays with that stylized, fashion magazine style, adding some attributes of the wise women. In here, the mycologist is for example accompanied by a crow.
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