MARIA KULAWIK was born in Poland and has lived in the village of Ornontowice for most of her life. She holds a degree in pedagogy and has dedicated many years of her life to education, including a few years of teaching in the United States. Ornontowice grounds her and provides a feeling of security and inspiration for her creative work. Not only do her home and beautiful garden full of blooming sunflowers reflect those feelings, but also the kind people and the unequaled spirit of her home region, Silesia. When the famous painter Danuta Muszyńska Zamorska painted her portrait with a sunflower, she did not realize that a bouquet of sunflowers would become a part of her destiny, and that reaching out for pastels would become a life-long adventure with painting, which in the last twenty years has turned into a one-of-a-kind “biography in sunflowers”.
Ten years ago, another artist, Maria Malczewska, wrote the following about Maria Kulawik’s work:
“From this commonplace element, Maria extracts an utterly existential expression. Sunflowers turn into a symbol of love, happiness, longing, joy, death, and hope. Those mysterious moments related to suffering emanate from the painter’s interior. In these melancholic paintings it is the decorative effect that produces a phenomenal transformation of simple sunflowers into existential symbols.
The lines and shapes of blooming or withering flowers are achieved by means of their disposition and colorshighlighted by a lighter background, darkened at times by tones of green and blue. All is contained within bright and deeply toned hues. The color yellow, in its crude state, prevails. Only a few mixed colors are used, rendering an effect of aged gold, bronze and copper. At great proximity, these everyday flowers that wither with a passing beauty, allow us to participate in the script of a mysterious existence. By means of color, shape and psychology of perception, they demand the same objective presentation as their theoretical conception. They prove that truth about the world should be sought by means of a spiritual experience and its expression. The best reference of human existence is art. And as she discovers it, Maria resolves to advance the theme of passing through her ongoing research and fascination.”
Summarizing the next ten years of Maria Kulawik’s creative efforts, artist Maria Malczewska writes the following:
“MARIA, in the next ten years of her work, does not abandon the expression of her personal involvement in the theme of passing. By means of spontaneous visual effects related to her garden, she generates a new philosophical cycle of paintings: Hope, On the Way to Happiness, Between Heaven and Earth, Passing, Message to Heaven, Late Autumn…, where the hero again is the sunflower, beautifully carrying out its role from its stages of blossoming, blooming, withering, and falling from the stem that remains. The stem acquires an existential force of expression, becomes a symbol of suffering, but also of great hope and faith in eternal life, in which Maria believes strongly, and proceeds toward what is ‘life’. There we see how a new way of expressing her interior world opens up for her by means of searching and expanding her pallet of colors. Searching for color becomes a conscious act of striving towards light. Not only the palette but also the style of painting and the sleight of hand acquire artistic maturity and uniqueness of expression. It seems that Maria knows where she is heading in her artistic growth. I firmly believe that each painter expresses in his/her creation that which is the best in them, which is why I wish you, Maria, many more years of growth in COLORS.”
Maria Malczewska’s signature
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