Discoveries in art and discoveries in science have always led to major movements in our cultural life. The impressionists took note of the way light dapples on water, the futurists were inspired by fast machinery.
Christina Narwicz is a painter inspired by this partnership and driven by a curiosity to create work that explores natural phenomenon much the way a scientist does. Her current solo exhibition at Fred Simon Gallery, which closes Oct. 20, highlights this discovery process with a series of paintings that evoke spontaneity, movement and texture.
Narwicz’s colorful paintings engage the eye as abstract expressionist but prolonged viewing reveals landscape realism, impressionism, fauvism and futurism. The work depicts vibrant scenes that use a variety of stimuli to illustrate physicality or tactility or in some cases create order and precision.
Combinations of line and bold color compose a robust dreamscape, a landscape that seems to emerge from the abstract surface. Large swaths of bright color are often outlined with fine or broad strokes either harnessing something volatile or suggesting a distinctive figure amongst the chaos.
The large diptych, “Nymphs”, is a wild moment, a waterspout or splash that can’t be contained in just one canvas. The layering of quick dashes and slithering lines give the viewer the feeling they are watching a scene in an aquarium. Perhaps, they are even the fish wondering through, creating their own wake and shaking up their environment.
Conversely, “Emerald Trail” appears to find its own direction amidst the abstract. A vibrant backdrop of slashes in a variety of colors become subdued by a serene order created in the painting’s central focal point. Though laid out unevenly, the trail pulls your eye into the path’s intention. Like in nature, a structure still occurs even when the environment seems chaotic.
Narwicz’s exhibit rewards those willing to take one’s time with it as the paintings come alive to a patient and observing eye. Much in the way one experiences a botanical garden, the work is seen in macrocosm first and its details second as each piece expands one’s consciousness.
In her artist statement, she says: “My work has always had a spontaneous and multi-streamed direction. Memory and the natural world are the starting points for my image making. My methods are very different and only a few are remotely of the “Scientific” variety. None-the-less, I am continually searching and chasing my own intuitive experiments and theories.”
Consequently, her work takes on the poetic aspect of science and in the process tells a story through touch, movement, light and memory. As in the scientific process, the discovery, experimentation and culmination or reward in art is never-ending. Furthermore, Narwicz’s work comments on a fluidity that is found both in art and nature and uses such to unite both. For the patient viewer then, the exhibit is doubly rewarding.
Christina Narwicz is on display at the Fred Simon Gallery, 1004 Farnam Street through October 20. For more information visit artscouncil.nebraska.gov to learn more about this exhibit and the Fred Simon Gallery, or visit christinanarwicz.com to learn more about the artist.