BLOG : Lifelines at Art Gallery of WA
Nov 6, 2013
"Art Within Art: Lifelines by Aneta Wnek, Part Two
It is Sunday afternoon at AGWA and Lifelines artist Aneta Wnek is carefully choosing her next subject. While slowly wandering through the Van Gogh, Dalí and Beyond exhibition she spies a young man sitting alone on a black leather bench. He could be absorbing the arrangement of sculptures by Alberto Giacometti, Julio González and David Smith or just taking a rest from viewing over a hundred artworks. No doubt to his surprise, he is about to be approached by an artist who will ask him to become a work of art.
The young man agrees, and Wnek readies her paper and pen to create his portrait. She always begins by drawing the eyes, and this requires an immediate and intimate connection with her subject.
The art or concept of ‘looking’ and being seen, and what happens when you allow someone into that personal space is something that intrigues Wnek.
‘I feel fortunate to be in a position where I can observe through the reactions I get how rare it is to actually look at someone in such an intimate way,’ she says, citing as inspiration Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present project where Abramovic invited people to sit opposite to her and exchange gazes.
While Wnek draws, the Gallery is abuzz with visitors. Groups are guided to artworks and huddle around in admiration. Young children take cues from adults; they look intensely at the walls and make astute observations about colour and subject.
‘I feel privileged to find myself returning to draw in such a unique environment.’ Wnek comments on working within the exhibition. ‘I think the returning to the space regularly will be in itself be a progressive influence as already I seem to notice different things each time I return, I’m enjoying the process of getting to know the artworks this way.’
‘I like being reminded of the simple complexities of some of the pieces and even the experimental nature of a work like Gustav Klimt’s The Park. Somewhere in the back of my mind the curiosity wondering what some of these artists would say if they saw the Lifelines project.’
Wnek says shes always loved Picasso’s line drawings and their spontaneous nature. ‘How he strived to reduce things to their simplest forms whilst capturing their energy, then pushing them into the extraordinary.
While in Spain I came across M.C. Escher’s Infinite Universes exhibition and I was surprised to discover his incredible use of the line, especially in his perhaps less familiar early years. I’m also a huge fan of Egon Schiele’s portraits some of which are confronting and disturbing but have a bold quality to their lines and use of colour.’
After her work at Van Gogh, Dalí and Beyond, Wnek hopes to exhibit the full collection of Lifelines drawn at AGWA.
Jul 9, 2013
One of the things I love the most about creating Lifelines portraits, are the people I meet.
I like catching individuals off guard a little when I ask them to sit for me ... and then surprising them with the experience.
But despite having drawn numerous portraits to date, the best thing is, the surprise and being caught off guard, actually happens both ways ...
I met Ann last weekend at The Art Gallery ... perhaps it was her initial hesitation and shyness which on first impressions made her the most unlikely suspect to move me the way she did ... but her openness, sincerity and the way she allowed me into her personal space - really reminded me of why I keep doing this.
As she mentions ... "It's sad how fearful we've become of other people", and it moved me to have her say how meeting me this way challenged that fear for her.
... she said she found herself at Van Gogh, Dali and Beyond to see one of her favourites, "Dali and his ability to offer lots of perspectives and ways to see things" ... she spoke about her sadness seeing the lack of celebration of Aboriginal people here in Australia, but she feels herself drawn to art as here are celebrated.
Portraits of session 2 :
Andy Quilty, Ricardo Garzon, Christine Della, Natalie R, Kleve Jorgenson, Dennis Dratt, Ann Atkinson.
Click below to see the portraits and photos from the day.