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Memories Scraps: Marzena Novak

Oil on canvas, ø20cm. Acrylic on canvas, 21x15cm. 2011.

This is a work that surprises and impresses by its simplicity and ability to connect with us. We are faced with a work that is incredibly similar to the work we will have done in our gridded notebooks at times of mental disconnection. However, there is something different about this work. This organized chaos appears to us in a harmony that our works may not have had. A harmony that is not monotonous. The mastery of the pattern evokes in our memory these past experiences, bringing us closer to the artist, who ends up making us accomplices in her work as if it was a collective work.

Marzena Nowak

This week we dedicate it to dreams, to thoughts, to memories, to the ethereal. And we do it through pattern, everyday life, canvas, sculpture. We can do this thanks to the work of the artist Marzena Nowak, born in Poland in 1977, who has managed to make her experience and way of understanding her life a personal art, which connects with us in a masterly way. Perhaps what makes this artist’s work interesting is its simplicity. To better understand the work of this artist, we believe that the best thing is to know what she is talking about: her memories.

I’ve always been surrounded by canvases. My mother sewed. She made all my clothes. That’s why they have been installed in my memory, along with the cut-out patterns from the magazines. They were abstract tangles of lines, all different. Following a single line of sight was already a challenge.

These are the words of the artist when she recalls those moments of her childhood, immersed in a communist atmosphere where standard became the norm. His house became a point that broke that monotony, enriching her memories. This childhood, immersed in patterns, whether it be those she found in magazines, those with prints on their canvases, or those she observed of the goods to which they had access, leads her to develop a capacity for abstraction through which she tells us all those memories.

Carpet trimming. 255x169cm. Lighting effect with video. Painted wood. 353x10cm. 2011.


Exhibition at Galerie Mezzanin, 2011.


Wood, paint, honey. 67x16cm. 2011.

However, her work is not limited to the generation of patterns to connect with us. This effect is also achieved through the simplicity of using everyday objects that have been manipulated to transmit something to us. Thus, the fluidity of a space made up of different elements can lead us to a static object, which submerges us once again in our thoughts. Specifically in our childhood. The experience of a space becomes the tool to immerse ourselves in memory.

Memories Scraps

When it comes to capturing memories on canvas, the artist works methodically through repetition. Apparently abstract elements appear following some rules that end up generating a chaos, which embraces us and invites us to merge our thoughts and sensations with those of Marzena. Thus, the methodical repetition of patterns on clothing can become a tangle of lines that, in isolation, have their origin, but which, when combined together, remind us of the geometries and weight plays that were played out in constructivism.

Fragment of black tracing on canvas. Original 200x300cm. 2002.

The repetition of geometric patterns and the grouping of colors generates a link with us, when we perceive the work in a similar way to the drawings we make in our moments of evasion. These repetitions, taken to a large format, embrace us, generating a work that can become a mirror of us: Observers who swim in the memories we try to find, on this foreign canvas.

Acrylic on canvas. 200x110cm each piece. 2011.

But Marzena also appropriates the patterns which appear in nature, as windows to reality which open up before us. Her work becomes a container of thoughts. If we have traveled thanks to her work to the we of the past, with this last piece, the infinity of nature invites us to reflect on a we in the now, and in the future.

Oil on mirror. 89x76x6cm. 2015.

In this way, the artist has evolved over the years, but we see how she continues to work with the same elements. Marzena’s work gives us a process of technical refinement, in which she always manages to make us accomplices. If you are interested, you can follow the work of Marzena Novak by clicking here

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