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Mariola Smarzak is emerging as one of Australia's important contemporary artists. Born in Poland in 1956 and emigrating to Australia in 1980, Smarzak has been painting seriously for the past fifteen years. She completed her MFA at UNSW's College of Fine Arts in 1997, exploring the meaning of the land through her own personal narrative. Her paintings speak of a landscape, left behind but not forgotten, her childhood memories and the half-way space in which she now occupies. Her works hover somewhere between realism and abstraction, they are dreamlike, imbuing a sense of what is remembered. They are steeped in nostalgia, in a palette of a bleaker and more unforgiving land, reminiscent of her native Poland and its harsh countryside.

Titles such as 'Returns,' and 'Traces,' suggest her yearning for what has been left behind in her native land. It is the merging of these two continents, the blurring of these two landscapes and the divide between them which continues to inform her imagery. There is a light though that shimmers throughout her work, in a delicate brushwork firmly applied, reminiscent of her adopted home in Australia. A versatile technician, Smarzak has now introduced more figurative elements into her work. Her recent self portrait as a solitary figure, selected for the Portia Geach at the SH Ervin Gallery in 2006 has brought a new focus to her work. Seated young women, in contemplative repose are veiled with fine-webbed sinewy white lines, suggestive of what they once were.

Vessels appear with more solidity in other works. They are rendered with a complex and layered painterly approach until they appear as dominant figurative elements on the canvas. Smarzak has been selected for a number of significant prizes in Australia, including the Jenny Brit Award, Fisher's Ghost Art Award, The Salon Des Refuses, SH Ervin Gallery (twice) , Portia Geach Memorial Award. Her exhibiting career has taken her to New York and Los Angeles, as well as Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Bathurst This is her 8th solo exhibition in Sydney previously represented by Brian Moore Gallery, Sydney.

For further information, please email ng@ngart.com.au
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