Kinga Nowak, born in 1977 in Kraków, is part of a generation of young figurative artists from Kraków – graduates of the local Academy of Fine Arts. She mainly works in painting, although she also occasionally creates sculptures, drawings, and multimedia works.
Apart from the Kraków Art Academy (which she graduated from in 2011), Nowak studied at at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (2000-2002). Since 2002, she has been working in the painting studio at her alma mater in Kraków, where she also lives. In 2007, she worked as a visiting lecturer at the London College of Communication.
She is a co-founder and member of the Kontrapost Young Artists' Association. Its members assume that nowadays mastering painting techniques is not sufficient in itself and that it needs to be complemented by a critical attitude towards the tradition and history of art, as well as to nature. Some of the other members of Kontrapost include Beata Bigaj, Wojciech Kubiak, and Grzegorz Wnęk.
In her works, Nowak focuses on representing psychological portraits of humans, their mutual relationships, and their usual surroundings. Apart from portraits and scenes from everyday life, she has also painted series of landscapes of Paris, Berlin, and Kraków. Her style can by distinguished by such aesthetic solutions as bold framing, intense colours (often contrasting), a penchant for blacks, and firm brush strokes.
In most of her works, the artist aims to depict the eerie atmosphere that she finds in human interactions, as well as to inspire this feeling in the viewers. Despite painting figuratively, she aims to go beyond a straightforward description of her surroundings and to form her own creative reality. She does not, however, keep away from the historical art or plastic traditions. Being mindful of the skill-oriented painting tradition, she constantly tries be responsive to the latest artistic trends. When introducing the artistic means typically used by new figurative painters (including the recently popular tendency to paint in a pop-art style), she treats them as the starting point or a tool of experimentation, as opposed to the intended formal effect.
In 2014, Kinga Nowak was featured in Kurt Beers’s book 100 Painters of Tomorrow, published by Thames & Hudson.
Artist’s website: www.kinganowak.com
Author: Małgorzata Kitowska-Łysiak, April 2006, Edited and translated by AM, October 2014
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