3 Decades by AnA Wojak - A Career Retrospective .. until 8 June
AñA Wojak is an award winning cross-disciplinary artist working in performance, painting, assemblage, installation and theatre design, with a particular interest in site-specificity, ritual and altered states. Often durational in nature, she creates visually poetic performances that resonate with a visceral depth. Born in Australia in 1954, she studied in Gdansk, Poland amidst the turmoil of Solidarity and Martial Law, and attained a Master of Fine Arts in 1983. The Eastern European influence can still be seen in her rich figurative work. She has been exhibiting for over 30 years with works held in many private and public collections, including Artbank and her work has been shown at the National Gallery Canberra, National Art Gallery of Victoria and Art Gallery of NSW. AñA has been shortlisted for many awards, such as the Archibald Prize, Portia Geach Award, Paddington Art Prize, Sculpture by the Sea and Waterhouse Prize. She received the prestigious Blake Prize in 2004 with her painting, Pieta (Dafur).
This exhibition demonstrates both a dexterity in execution and an intense and intrinsic curiosity about materials used in the making of AñA's art. This is manifested in the array of materials that find their way into the work - even AñA's paintings! It seems this is not only the work of an artist, but also something of an alchemist. AñA's exhibition includes painted figurative works - landscapes, portraits and real people in mythological contexts. There is an almost Eastern European iconographic and reverential treatment of some of the latter, manifested in style and the use of rich oils and gold leaf. There are abstractions, as well, with the seemingly delicate touch of translucent glazes of oil colour on industrial waste sheet metal. There is such a contradiction here in the media and the heavy base material to which it has been so lightly and lovingly applied. Recycled waste material seems to have been a common thread in just about all of AñA's work over the decades - including the found or discarded objects used in her assemblages, installation work and sculpture. While the components of her work are integral to its outcome, her work as an artist exceeds the elements that comprise it - ultimately as unique artistic expression and as a manifesto of complex thought and the history of the woman, herself. This is not an exhaustive survey of very part of AñA's arts practice. It doesn't include her performance work, multi-media or recent assemblage works. It is most certainly rich and in many ways 'splendid' in media, content and concept.