Sonja Brzak

The art and work of Sonja Brzak

The most frequent painting subject of the academy-trained painter Sonja Brzak is a human figure. The painter is devoted to depicting one or more human figures that she connects and blends into one unbreakable unity. Her work consists mostly of paintings that seem abstract at first sight and are composed of many sharp-edged shapes in clean and dominant colours red and blue. However, only few paintings are completely undefined in terms of their theme and they distance themselves from the subject with their geometric abstraction. The painter sometimes experiments with automatism and uncontrolled bodily movements, and she softens or "liberates" the sharpness and hardness of geometric motifs by dripping light or dark colours on colourful canvases, and by doing so, she creates a swirling composition of small and large marks.

Her most suggestive work is without doubt related to depiction of human figures that she stylises and transforms into abstract forms. Recognisability of motifs is not treated the same in all her work; it varies from one painting to another, and the shape of the human body is gradually "dissolved" beyond recognition. Therefore, in some of the paintings human figures are, although fragmented in many shapes, clearly drawn and emphasised by colour and lines, and the observer can easily distinguish body parts. Other paintings show a shift towards stronger stylisation marked by the loss of body lines in a complex grid of lines, and the vagueness and connection between shapes are made stronger by an identical set of colours used for depicting figures. In the end, the gradation of stylisation leads to abstract composition of shapes, and only painted stylised heads may point to the fact that the subject of the painting is a depiction of body.

Sonja Brzak often comes back to figurative painting and to realism, by painting a series of idealised portraits of pretty, young women, more precisely their heads in (if we use the parameter of a movie shot) close-up. The focus is on the faces that take up all the canvas surface and often go "outside" of the frames, which emphasises their size. Eyes that are framed with black and rough make-up dominate their faces. Colours used are reduced to ochre and brown tones with a few accents of blue or dimmed red.

We can also notice realism in paintings containing nude women, in which the colours used show the painter's split tendency towards, on the one side, strong and vivid colours, and on the other, towards subtle shades of tonal painting. Paintings are enriched with pastel, soft tones and offer to the observer a harmonious colour game full of vivacity. Colours are applied with broad brushstrokes, reflecting the painter's passion and pleasure in relation to the act of painting itself, to the materiality of pigment and to the beauty of its colours. Free of restrictive dark lines that we find in most of the work, they mix and connect freely, thus creating scales and relations of colours pleasing to the eye. The colours used are exactly what promises interesting solutions to some of the future work and an area that the painter will explore for sure and discover some new ways of expression in painting.

Along with painting in acrylics, the painter also cherishes the form of drawing with pencil on a paper. With the attention still on the motif of women faces, drawings with thin lines and soft shading are made, often enriched with red colour applied to the lips of the model. Portraits of old people stand out among drawings, with their tired and wrinkled faces that are drawn with precision through a clean grid of lines that repeats, and through realistic depiction of grey beards containing every single detail.

Ceramic art is also a way of expression that Sonja Brzak explores and creates in. It is a special and indispensable form of her work that takes a special place in her entire creative work. With a big craft knowledge she creates various objects and pots - from urns and vases to unique sculptures. She often decorates the surface of pots with low reliefs with complex composition and she emphasises the relief by using two colours: she paints the low parts in black and high parts in earth tones. Sonja Brzak has been exploring the area of ceramic art for years and her ceramic objects are characterised by the quality of their fabrication and impressive aesthetics.

Creativity, curiosity and tireless energy of Sonja Brzak impact and enrich her world each day, and the concentric circles of the joy of creating spread and touch and enrich many others.


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