From the very first moment I looked at Marta Kisiliczyk’s paintings, I couldn’t take my eyes off them. The more I looked at those paintings, the more I was drawn into an artistic world of bizarre colours and shapes: a fierce and intense red, a calm hue of blue, a relaxing green and a joyous pink. They were raw, contradictory, mysterious yet strangely connected.
When I told Kisiliczyk, the Polish award-winning painter, what I felt about her artworks, she just said: “This is what I want with my paintings and my audience. To just stand in front of my works of art and feel something.”
Marta Kisiliczyk and her painting at the VeniceLands ArtPrize exhibition in Italy in 2019. Photo courtesy of Marta Kisiliczyk
Emotions lead the way
Painting is a creative process and emotion is the keystone of that process for Marta. She lives purely in the moment and expresses what she feels on the canvas.
“I paint with feelings and try to switch my mind off when I paint,” she said.
Interestingly, it doesn’t mean that there are no conscious decisions made during the creative process. After many years of studying and practising professionally, the painter knows the techniques and colours needed for her artworks. They are all in her. But it works in the background because what matters more for Kisiliczyk is the connection between her and the paintings.
“I do analyse and plan a little, but I don’t think much about it. I focus more on the relationship between me and the canvas”, Kisiliczyk said.
Kisiliczyk encourages her students to follow their feelings when they paint. Photo courtesy of Marta Kisiliczyk
“When I paint, I become more relevant to the canvas and feel like it is mostly speaking back to me. And I follow that voice.”
As the painter flawlessly paints through her emotions, her paintings provoke different layers of feelings within their audience and inspire them to keep exploring her soulful artworks with all of their heart and imagination.
Feelings are also what Kisiliczyk encourages her workshop students to follow when teaching them how to paint. She often asks students to start with what catches their attention first and go with it, rather than following what the textbook says.
According to her, there should be no limitations or boundaries when creating art. Focusing on our feelings helps us to break norms and become more confident in making decisions.
Kisiliczyk’s style has impressed leading art critics and they have compared her to Van Gogh and Willem de Kooning.
Her unique style has brought her prestigious awards, including the First Prize from the International Confederation of Art Critics in 2018 at Chianciano Art Biennale in Italy, and the International Michelangelo Prize “For the artistic talent manifested, testimony of great creativity” in 2019.
Kisiliczyk and her junior students. Photo courtesy of Marta Kisiliczyk
Inspired by nature
As an artist who paints with emotions, nature is important to Kisiliczyk. She reaches out to nature whenever she feels stressed. Nature calms her down, encourages her to look within and observe what is really happening inside herself. The more time she spends with nature, the more she becomes aware of herself and her feelings.
“I really feel connected with nature. I love the moments I spend surrounded by its beauty,” she said. “Nature is such a joy to look at. With all those plants and flowers, colours and shapes.”
Nature is also an endless inspiration for her art. A vast experience of working and living in different countries, including Poland and the UK, has honed her perception of the natural world. Now, residing in Việt Nam, she has been wowed by the country’s landscapes and passionately depicts them on her canvas.
“Light is different here in Việt Nam, brighter, exposing more colours and nuances for the creation of art,” she said.
Her solo exhibition titled “Transformation” was held at the National Fine Arts Museum last year. It was part of celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Việt Nam and Poland. The exhibition presented Kisiliczyk’s abstract impressions of the beauty of Việt Nam’s natural environment.
Her profound love and deep connection with nature helps her to create depth in her compositions. At the end of her paintings, there is a tranquility that hides behind those vibrant and striking colours and shapes. Marta invites viewers on a journey to discover different states of emotion. Her landscape artworks can be found on her website at https://www.martakisiliczyk.com/.
“I don’t think we appreciate nature enough,” Kisiliczyk said.
Painting nature is a way for her to express her appreciation of the natural world. However, she has done more than that. In her own language of art, she has encouraged people to live more wholeheartedly and show more respect to Mother Earth.
Dreamy Haze, one of Kisiliczyk's painting shown at her exhibition at the National Fine Arts Museum in 2020. Photo courtesy of Marta Kisiliczyk
Emotions are crucial for Kisiliczyk’s creative process, but she has to be in a happy state to paint.
“I generally paint when I’m happy, although I go through different emotions when I create, and sometimes, some darker moments are also important for artists - they add depth,” she said.
Her happy and positive energy is successfully reflected in her paintings through powerful colours, sometimes contrasting with darker shades.
And her positivity is infectious. On the day we met, her right arm had been broken and she couldn’t paint for a while. However, she said that she was going to paint a diptych of which one painting would be done with her left hand and the other with her right when it heals.
She wanted to show people that they can do whatever they want no matter what challenges they face, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can do anything. There are no boundaries for creativity, in art and in life,” said Kisiliczyk. VNS