Skip to main content

Magda Blasinska's 'Unfolded' unveiled at the artist's new exhibition of paintings

At the core of Magda Blasinska's new exhibition are 4 large canvases, hung on opposing walls and exploring the artist's main preoccupations with film, theatre, floating form, balance and the notion of the canvas as a window. Surrounding them are 10 smaller works more experimental in style and leaning towards abstract figuration.

But in all her works, inspired also by an obsession with Federico Garcia Lorca and music, Blasinska confuses the viewer with folding surfaces that spring sporadically onto the canvas in a mass of sculpted shapes. In Teaser, the dense cloud like matter gives birth to a singular finger of gold, touching, godlike, the 3/4 blank linen canvas. Or is it lightning cutting through an anxious earth? 
In answer and calling to it, Etude reflects a silence and an echo to calm Teaser's angst. Inspired by the artist's love for Chopin, it plays with the viewer's need for order and balance and perception of the abstract- tension arises out of the use of traditional thirds and the law of the golden section.  Although the work seems timeless, it is also of time and in a ghostly fashion- the floating forms give rise to feelings of a deserted boat abandoned in a haze of a lake at the bottom of a dense wood, but this idea is immediately confounded by other frames within frames [perhaps cinematic ones] and a notion of structural architectural form set against a more poetical landscape.
Taken in tandem with each other, Teaser and Etude might seem to explore the beginning of time and its chaos, and a more man made renaissance like era.

Completing the quartet are the colossal Gooseberry Gardens and Little Sparta, a response to The Garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay. They oppose and complement each other through dynamic form and movement.

Little Sparta- oil on canvas, 2013

Little Sparta is of a place but it represents the artist's own inner response to the masterful pre-Socractic views of the nature of the world expounded by Finlay. The viewer is lulled into a false sense of security with an evenly proportioned landscape, which is offset and dashed through by a build up of amassed greens [the artist is currently obsessed and confronted by green, to the extent she smells it as a 'dark forest green'] and a dancing underpainted figure mindful of Edvard Munch's Red Virginia Creeper- except the creeper here is green blue ivy and serves as an effective false proscenium, which we can half see through and expect to be drawn back, to reveal the scene beyond.
In contrast, Gooseberry Gardens is a battlefield of frozen forms and undulating masses, in pictorial conflict with its title, and an example of the artist's interest in translating natural landscapes into their most primal impressions in order to express their inherent materiality and form. Gooseberry Gardens is a solitary cast bearing colour, light and conflict- there is a familiar  green and the architecture of shapes, the flats and buildings of them, are brutalist and at war.

Gooseberry Gardens- oil on canvas, 2010- 2013

Blasinska's preoccupations are many layered, and like Peter Doig and Mamma Andersson, her current influences, she reflects on painterly ambiguity and juxtaposition. Choice of canvas grain and depth of canvas frame are the first decisions the artist makes. Her work is iconic and within her smaller paintings, there exists an inherent religious undertone [Glass Cabin, Anatomy of my Soul[Flagellation of St. Anthony] - with its cacophony of frames within frames, Lowry like blurted landscapes, it is almost surreal in nature] and an interest in pictorial representation [Conversation and Untitled]. 

Glass Cabin, oil and acrylic on canvas, 2013/14

In all her works there is the feeling that the canvas is a stage and some ritual is about to unfold, and though the scenes seem narrative-less, they give rise to story, emotion and impression by the complex arrangement of shapes. 

But as an expression of the artist and perhaps as a statement, Charcoal to Charcoal dominates the smaller works. A creamy white spiral like mass throws itself against a collective darkness, as if in a shout at existence. It is both figurative [compositionally one is reminded of Munch's The Scream] abstract and dramatic.

It's not a surprise then, to learn that the artist works in a spontaneous and intuitive manner, whilst exploring an interest in rough and classical beauty. It will be very interesting to see more of the artist's work as she develops her themes and preoccupations in a direct response to the environment around her.

Unfolded continues at the Ridgmount Centre, 8 Ridgmount Street, London, WC1E 7AA until 10th June [including Sunday], 10am-6.30pm

for more info:

or telephone 020 7637 7697


Popular posts from this blog

Walking the Tightrope- Theatre Delicatessen

Site-specific set? Perhaps. In the old Guardian offices in Farringdon, Offstage Theatre and Theatre Uncut curate a cycle of 12 short plays exploring the tension[s] between art and politics, reactions to the budget cuts to the arts in the UK and debate freedom of expression controversies. Corruption, class divides, perception, blood money, gesture politics and culpability, it’s all there and recent topical events are given stage time, from The Tricycle’s controversial decision to withdraw their support for the UK Jewish Film Festival to the Barbican’s cancelled Exhibit B. The plays are entertaining- Sun City by April De Angelis, Re: Exhibit by Gbolahan Obisesan, Old Newland by Julie Pascal, Tickets are on Sale Now by Caryl Churchill and Exhibit A, by Neil LaBute, all deserve special mention for looking beyond the parameters of funding and freedom of expression in the UK arts- by which of course, I mean a theatrical London still surfing the very last trickling waves of Colonialism and it…

A Man of Good Hope: review

“The ability to have someone tell your story is so important. It says you know I was here.” Maya Angelou It’s a piece of musical theatre about having hope. It’s an urgent work which speaks of age old global phenomenons such as migration and life as a persecuted refugee. The term refugee has been part of the western world’s history since the persecution of protestants in France in 1540, the term migrant is biblical. The book upon which the show is based, an account of the life of Somali Asad Abdullahi who witnessed the murder of his mother when he was eight years old in Mogadishu during the civil war and who then fled across Africa as a boy and young man as a consequence, is in some ways so traumatic a read that the stage work has to offer more positivity than the title infers. 
In the Isango Ensemble and director Mark Dornford-May, with a little help from Stephen Daldry, the book, by Jonny Steinberg, has found the perfect stage partners. One feels that no other company could do this wor…

Safe House- art meets theatre at the Young Vic with Jeremy Herbert and Gabriella Sonabend

It starts with a journey down a narrow corridor, fist clenching wooden key.
‘Follow the yellow line’ the polite Usher says and I do, around the corner and into a foyer area, where I am met with a gust of wind from a machine that Jeremy Herbert, the designer, has created himself. As my hair blows and my cheeks and eyes are battered as if I am standing on top of a mountain, I am tempted to remain here, to continue to feel the gusts in my face and listen to the sound the wind makes. I don’t want anything else and I can’t hear anything else, only aware of a need to immerse myself in it, to let myself go in the rapid flashing lights that emanate from its surface. I’m one who craves aloneness and enjoys it all too well, but I am afraid that someone will come and disturb this brief relationship myself and the wind machine have struck up, or that my mind will interfere, the buzz of thoughts getting the better of me.. so I move on around the room, after all, there are four more ‘safes’, all a s…