Tag: installation

Buoyant Geographies: Artist Jowita Wyszomirska Rethinks Baltimore

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We last checked in with Jowita Wyszomirska, one of Baltimore Fishbowl’s first resident artists, in January when she presented her show “Tenuous Connection” at MICA’s Temporary Gallery on North Avenue—a series of window-set installations depicting surreal sculptural scenes that simultaneously suggested vintage science textbook illustrations and furry, floral, Dr.-Suessian impossibility. The event’s well attended opening occurred on a chilly night, despite the art’s placement demanding an (extremely brisk) exterior vantage point. This sizzling July weekend, catch Jowita’s newest cool show, “Geographies,” this time indoors at School 33, where she also houses her studio. The reception happens Saturday from 3 to 6, and runs till August 18.  I asked Jowita to tell readers a bit about her high-concept process of drawing, painting, and building, in anticipation of the visually exhilarating next reveal.

How does this show represent a departure from your last show at MICA, and what is the main connective link?

Experience of a place is in some way always a departure point in my work. Thinking about location as a whole, our relationship to place, experience of it, shifts and changes we cause to the landscape,  I use visual aspects from my immediate landscape or surrounding architecture (of a place I know or I have been to) as sources for my drawings.

When I started this new series of work, I had couple of formal tasks that I wanted to accomplish and that pushed me to do some “experiments” with new materials (I like to go to hardware stores and just browse until I see something that has a potential for me).

What was the most challenging aspect?

I am very compelled to make site-specific work. Usually how that works for me is that I intend to follow a loose plan that I have formulated ahead of time. This way I can do some prep work leading up to the show. It is always a push and pull process though. Once I am in the space working, I always come across surprises (that are of my own making). This happened this time as well: I was planning on make my “Buoyant” installation (seen above) completely with 3-D components that I made ahead of time, but instead it turned out to be a whole lot of painting. I love the challenge of not having things figured out, but at the same time it makes my installation process tense and hectic.

Drawing for Passersby: Living Art by Jowita Wyszomirska

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Jowita Wyszomirska, one of Baltimore Fishbowl’s first resident artists, this month installed a new show called Tenuous Connection at the Temporary, the innovative gallery space positioned curbside at MICA’s Student Center, beside Joe Squared at Station North. Address: 113 North Avenue. Jowita makes work daily at her art studio at School 33, where she first began to dream up these incredible, high-concept drawings months ago. To complete the project for the Temporary, she spent eight long days working on public display through picture windows. This space is curated by Hyejung Jang.

Show celebration happens tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 24, 7-9, with back-and-forth art partying between Joe Squared and the unique exhibit, which is on view strictly through windows from outdoors. Take note: Your last day to catch the work is this Friday, January 27.

Jowita’s stunning, large-scale wall drawings feature imaginative sculptural elements; her compositions conjure connections for me of a vast and playful solar system, a strange geometry of floral and architectural structures, a beautiful techno song brought to step-inside-this life. I talked to her about her show and her ongoing creative process.

How does the Temporary’s building structure inform the pieces, or what is the role of the window and the gallery-setting in the show? Did you consider the actual art-making part of the exhibit?

I think the change between the day and night is pretty interesting with the work surfacing when it gets dark. I like the daytime too with all those reflections of the street because I love using layers and there it just happens on its own. Connection #3 was the most improvised piece with almost no plan ahead of time. When I got to it, I started tracing the lines of the sidewalk onto the window and that informed my composition.

[Throughout the installation,] I was completely visible to the street. I thought I would be timid to work in a space where all the passerby traffic could see me; at first I considered blocking the windows with brown paper. But when I started working, I basically didn’t want to waste any time on that and really quickly got used to being on view. People were pretty interested, some even knocked on the windows to give me thumbs up. For several years, I worked in museums building exhibits and I always thought that behind-the-scenes is really fascinating. I think a lot of the people enjoy seeing the process of making things.

How did you first get inspired to create these pieces?

One day in search of liberation from the support (of paper, canvas, etc.), I just started drawing on the wall of my studio and surprisingly worked much faster than I imagined I ever could. This opened up many other possibilities for me. As much as I still enjoy making small drawings, it is plainly so physical and fun to just go straight onto the wall!

Can you describe the journey from studio work to site design to completion?

I like to think that my work is almost site-specific… During the day, the reflections on the windows are so strong that they obscure and dominate over the work in the exhibits in the gallery. I thought I could use that to some degree, so I traced the outlines of the buildings and used that as my main composition in Connection #2. The outcome is still very abstract and I don’t think my strategy is very obvious, but that makes it almost site-specific for me. 

But getting back to the process, for over a month I worked in my studio and used vellum to make a lot of the drawing to then figure out the final layout in the gallery. I think I work best if I prepare ahead of time but leave myself enough room for improvisation when I am installing my work in the actual space. I have been using a lot of masking tape (which originally I tried just to speed up my process and I liked it a lot), markers, paint. I also incorporated LED lights into one of the pieces — I really want to explore that more in the future.
 
How would you define your current vision or your work’s personal meaning right now?

My work is pretty abstract and dictated by my process. I am inspired by architecture and… schematic diagrams. In my current work, I can make a connection back to the time when I was taking organic chemistry and really was in love with the visual aspects of the class but also the content; I loved my notes with drawings of the molecules and compounds. I enjoy making something that can easily shift between micro and macro scales. I guess for this reason it is also good for me to make this physical shift (back and forth) between small drawings and wall drawings.
 

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