Ellie McIntyre 3/5/17 Exhibition Visit
Lidia Syroka is an artist who had work on display at the Ricco Maresca Gallery in Chelsea in an exhibition called “Body Alchemy”. Her works are mixtures of painting, sewing and collage from paper. Her work can be considered to be “outside” art. This is the concept of art that is created by an artist who produces work for themselves without prior instruction. One of her pieces that I found to be the most “Outside” is her piece Untitled, made in 2014, drawing made with stamps on paper, 49 x 23 in. The center of the image looks like an abstract print of the spine and ribs. This piece is the most “Outside” because it incorporates text in an expressive and careless but at the same time intentional way. Some of her works from far away look like common non-objective contemporary art pieces until you look closer and realize the sewn and embroidered details.
This work is similar to the works of John Patrick McKenzie because he too does works that use text as the main focus to draw the viewer in. The text isn’t neat but it dances around the page and is the center of the whole work. It is clear that process is a major focus in making the finished product in this piece and that is something I enjoyed. Although I could not experience what the creation must have been like I can imagine and draw conclusions by the way it is presented and through the information I am presented with. It is evident in the finished pieces that as she creates her work she transforms the anatomy into the human body into mechanical representations of them. They become less like people as their human characteristics are altered and facial features are removed.
Lidia Syroka: BODY ALCHEMY
January 20 – March 4, 2017
Opening reception | Annual winter party: January 20, 6:30-9:30pm
“In my sewn paper work, I concentrate on the intimate reality of paper matter. I’ve always worked with paper; inspected its ‘inner’ dimension to extract its beauty. To touch its secret, I stuck it, sewed it, tore it, and stuck it again. Yet after many years in this line of work, it felt necessary for me to return to drawing. Before beginning, I tried to become aware of what I felt inside my body and the kind of texture that best associated with it. I was looking for a technique that would enable me to express it with simple and direct graphic signs—the signs that configure my soul and the truth of my emotions—and this way instill the work with power.
In the beginning, I felt my body as a sort of metal structure. Thus, in the first series (2006) I used a pencil to obtain the metallic surface. After some exploration on this level, I started looking around and felt that bark material was close to me. Again, I looked for an appropriate technique to mirror the feeling, and this resulted in the series of 2007-2008.
Once I finished the ‘Bark’ series, it was difficult to identify myself with any exterior matter. After many searches, I understood that I was ‘in the body.’ So the basis of my ‘Red Drawings’ series (2009) alludes to the body’s texture patterns: the crossing of muscles and tendons.
The deeper I went into myself, the darker the drawings became. In the next level, I entered the darkest part of my body; it was impossible to draw with ink or pencil on the black paper surface. So I abandoned colors and drawings. It took scissors to open up my new energy transition. This started my ‘Drawings Made with Scissors’ series (2010-2011).
After this phase, it became necessary to ‘clean’ the new passages. So I started my ‘Drawings Made with Water’ (2012-2013). On previously prepared paper, I drew with a brush wet in water. Then, with my fingers, I took out the humid parts of paper. Finally, I adhered virgin Nepali paper onto the back. Hence the holes appeared as drawings.
In ‘Drawings Made with Stamps,’ I used simple marks: lines, dots, half circles, and words that communicated emotions relevant to me at the moment. I made the stamps with sponge and constructed the drawings from these elements. The medium doesn’t have importance to me, it’s just an aid to expression.
After exploring each of these levels, I looked for a new technique and discarded the previous one. Consequently, each series is unique in method and texture. The process leading from one to another conveys an interior transmutation: the alchemy of the body. I use my body as a vehicle of growth and decay. Deconstruction helps reconstruction. My work shows me the way.”