Gabrijela Iva Polic, the young painter from Sydney, was preparing her paintings for the exhibition entitled Sydney Who at The Hughes Gallery in Surry Hills from May 01 – June 10., when she answered my questions about her art, her inspiration and her searching for an own way of art expression.
She finished the College of Fine Arts in Sydney at the end of the year 2013, and she was immediately invited to take part in this exhibition at The Hughes Gallery.
Jasna Lovrinčević: “What does this exhibition mean for you?“
Gabrijela Iva Polic: “For me the exhibition is very important because of the gallery I am working with. The Hughes Gallery currently represented very established Australian artists and they have been known to help start the careers of very recognised artists who are now internationally known. I am just happy that a gallery of such stature has acknowledged me at such an early stage in my career.”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “When did you discover your talent for painting and how?“
Gabrijela Iva Polic: “I have been creating things ever since I was a child, and have always loved using my hands. But I must admit when I entered art school I was not a skill-ful painter at all. I struggled with technique a lot at art school, and was not happy with my lack of knowledge in techniques so I would explore alternatives and other media which would hide my lack of knowledge, such as collage or sewing. I always tried to make something beautiful, something I would be proud of, without having to make a proper painting. Last year, 2013, was my final year of university and I was fed up with the fact that I went to art school to learn how to paint, but no teacher really ever taught me anything. I knew I had the desire and the ability to do well at painting if I put my mind to it, but contemporary art schools in Australia rarely teach traditional techniques any more as they push for artists to broaden their mind and create new and exciting things. Much of the time they steer us painters away from painting and lead us to new mediums like video art, photography, sculpture, installation etc. For the reason that I was not increasing my technical knowledge I sought a mentor to teach me techniques I wanted to learn. Her name is Marisa Purcell, she a well recognised and established Australian artist. From our first lesson my skills increased tenfold. I was in the studio every day from 7:30-4 every single day practising, practising, practising and experimenting. I was the only one in school who did this, I was the first one there in the morning and sometimes the last to leave. I got to the stage where I am now, but I still have a lot to learn.”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “Where do you find inspiration?”
Gabrijela Iva Polic: “My latest body of work was inspired by the photographic work of Andres Miguel, in particular ‘Woodland Magic’. This work is a photograph of two mushrooms in a beautiful forest. I discovered that mushrooms or fungus exchange minerals and nutrients for sugar with surrounding trees. This photograph made me think of our relationships as humans, and how we give nutrients to each other in the form of loving relationships (friends, family etc). I always think of a quote by C.S. Lewis who once said “It is our friendships that give value to survival”. The idea of these relationships that have intrinsic value in our lives is why I adorn some of the paintings with cell-like patterns that can look like pearls or clusters of diamonds, necklaces or jewellery. In saying this, my work is deeply personal and most of the pictures and compositions come from my own imagination, intuition and emotions. I have only recently (the last week) begun to look at scientific botanical illustration so I can continue and expand this body of work.
Jasna Lovrinčević: “I have seen some of your paintings with beautiful schapes and colours. Some of them remind me of some sea-creatures or cells, what does it mean; life as inspiration, or life creation as inspiration, or God’s creation as eternal beauty….”
Gabrijela Iva Polić: “You are very right in seeing creatures and cells in the paintings. Many times these creatures in my paintings have relationships and connections to each other where they are feeding off, growing from and nurturing one another. In nature, these relationships between different species are called mutualistic relationships. Here one creature/animal/plant will help the other survive by protecting them and giving them nutrients. I use these creatures and scenes in nature as a metaphor for how we live in relationships as humans. Without our loving friends and family, our lives are dull. They give us joy, purpose, support and emotional strength. This, I think is what like is all about, these connections and relationships. Without them we would have nothing and our souls would be dull. Throughout life we meet many people on the way. As we interact and spend time with friends, we sometimes unknowingly, learn from them, take on some of their interests, ways of thinking or speaking, and develop as a person. Through all of these relationships we blossom into the person that we are. It is just like how flowers and bees work.
Jasna Lovrinčević: “You have once mentioned that love is your inspiration; if you could please say more about that. Where does it reflect; in your choice of colours, or motives, or in something else?”
Gabrijela Iva Polic: “My teachers would always say to me, paint about what is important to you. Many young and contemporary artists make art about politics and all the things that are wrong with this world. I am not concerned with politics, I have never cared much for it, I am interested in the things that make me joyful and the things that bring me to despair. Although joy and sadness are completely different, much of the time these strong emotions come from love. Love, can equally make us blissful or distraught. Through the act of painting, I seek to understand love and it’s impact on myself. When I am making a painting, sometimes I remember a hard time in my life and I tap into those emotions. I think of the people who were with me, how they protected me and cared for me. I think of the love hold in my heart for my dearest ones and try to put this into the work. As I mentioned before, it is these loving relationships that help us grow. I think this can be seen in the colour and compositions. How the elements in the picture work together and talk to each other.”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “What do you think: is it hard for young artists to be original, to find their own way, or own style of painting?”
Gabrijela Iva Polic: “At first I think it is very hard to develop your own language as an artist. But I think this comes with time and persistence. The only way you will be original and develop your own style is to work every single day.”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “What kind of technique do you prefer?”
Gabrijela Iva Polic: “Sometimes I can sit and paint dots all day because it is very meditative. Other times I can be more free with a large brush. It really depends on how I am feeling on the day.”
Jasna Lovrinčević: “Who is your favourite painter? Is there any painter who has influenced your work?“
Gabrijela Iva Polic: “Del Kathryn Barton has always been a large influence from the start of my studies. The sense of connection in her work is always what draws me in.
Ross Bleckner is another artist I am inspired by.”
Gabrijela Iva Polic has also mentioned the names of her famous teachers like David Eastwood, famous for painting interiors, Oliver Watts, theorist, lecturer, and artist, famous for portraiture and Marisa Purcell, famous for her abstract paintings.
Gabijela was born in Sydney. Her origin is Croatian. Her parents came to Australia from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Gabriela often travels to Europe.