Karina Antończak on colour, shape and gesture

by Vincenza Napoli

This week Polish painter, Karina Antończak, met with Artfinder to discuss how the different stages of her life have influenced the subjects that she abstracts. Using her skills as a painter and an architect, Karina creates intriguing abstract paintings which have become a favourite of Artfinder's art lovers.

Karina creates her work in series, focusing on a specific subject at a time that tends to the needs of that particular stage of her life. From cityscapes to lace works, to her current series on lakes, these abstract paintings become a story of the artist herself.

What are you working on at the moment?

I visualise monotonic landscapes, stripped of dominant elements, which are nostalgic for simplicity, purity and clarity of divisions.

I work on space visualisation of personal, therapeutic value and imagine nature for my imagination’s sake: to see the horizon and great, empty space. My paintings are open, symmetric compositions which are interrupted by one particular detail. They are afterimages with a taste of melancholy and a sentimentality about the greatness of nature. I try to create my own record through which I can transfer energy, similar to that one of quiet time near the surface of a lake. This is the always present theme in my art, as a way of an active relaxation, regeneration; a chorus between verses.

'Lake 96' by Karina Antończak, $650/£506/€579

One of your most recent series is centred on lakes. Why did you choose this subject?

I chose the theme of lakes as they offer a sense of calm, contrasting with the current chaos, change and momentum in my life right now. My subconscious instinct is to comes up with a resolution for this unrest, and lakes offered a calming solution.

I'm working with quiet, often muted colours and simple divisions of flat surfaces within a couple of different lakeside settings. This is a series of paintings attached to the world, reflective of my DNA, evocative of my extreme feelings, pushed to the limits, but with an underlying sense of calm.

You write that you use a ‘vocabulary of colour, shape and gesture’ to create your works. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

This statement is relevant to abstract art and is also how I see my paintings. I do not paint from nature, I create an image from a bank of memories and from there they go on to abstraction. I show a vision of a constructed world with my own words. To me, the relation between colours, lines, their weight, tensions and the forces ruling the composition are important. My paintings are an analysis of the relationships between space, mass, colour, surface and force.

Karina Antończak at work

As an architect, what attracts you to painting?

I was always a painter and I became an architect somewhere along the way! I was an immature, unconscious painter at the High School of Fine Arts; studying architecture and my subsequent career an architect shaped me and my personality. It gave me the courage to live according to my nature.

Because of my studies, I have created my own style of work, which is important in painting, where there are no basic rules. This is one of the things that attracted me to painting, that I can decide on my own what, when and how to do. I decide when the painting is finished and how long I work on it. I alone choose the subject and the way to treat it. The most important aspect is that the process brings me happiness.

'Interior city 05' by Karina Antończak, $340/£264/€303

How has your career as an architect impacted your work?

My career as an architect deeply influenced my painting but I think that the flow of time will weaken this influence.

I graduated from the Department of Architecture and City Planning at Wroclaw Institute of Technology. There, the German traditions of functionalism are still highly valued (less is more, basic colours, etc). The basics of these aesthetics became the basis for mine. I use vertical and horizontal spaces thanks to my architectural knowledge and awareness of how a building is constructed.

How have you found your time selling on Artfinder?

I couldn’t believe the outreach after my first month of joining this amazing community of artists; I didn’t know how appreciated I would be! I have been making a living from painting for the last six years, since the birth of my son and it is on Artfinder where I have received the greatest support.

Artfinder has strengthened my belief that it is worth doing that what you love. I feel that this community motivates me as well as other artists. It presents us with the opportunity of sharing what we can create and supports this diversity.

'Bridge 01' by Karina Antończak, $700/£545/€623

What’s next for you?

I have a couple of ideas that I am working on; my next subject is not far from what occupies me now: infinity, emptiness, uncertainty.

I would also like to create a series of portraits of the people close to my heart, to arrange my tale from movie frames, dedicate a series to my son, take on the subject of growing up, maternity and try new means of expression.

'Landscape 94' by Karina Antończak, $490/£381/€436

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