By Małgorzata Czyńska
Beata Murawska’s painting belongs to the tradition of Colourism. It is bound up with it and inspired by it so strongly that one is tempted to look for analogies or to quote the classics of the genre.
‘I am a Colourist painter,’ says Murawska. And this simple definition should be enough. We should accept it as sufficient explanation in itself, if we wanted to explain her art at all, this art which simply seduces with colour at first sight.
The paintings are vibrations of colour – powerful, saturated, dynamic colours are like the artist’s signature. A signature and a display of true artistic mastery.
Everything is recognisable here: the landscape, the trees, the flowers. But copying nature is not the point. Even the truth of nature is not the point. The artist, known primarily as a ‘tulip painter’, really can exploit this favourite motif endlessly; yet the label ‘tulip painter’ sounds patronising and trivialises her art, her talent. Each painting is about solving specific colour problems. Each one has its own truth based on lived experience.
Each painting is like an allusion to reality, even though it is easy to give each one a concrete title. Beata Murawska could repeat after Jan Cybis: ‘We don’t illustrate: we create an equivalent, an object in paint that stirs the imagination.’ It’s not about imitation then, but about expression. Within the confines of a picture, a separate world comes into being, one that delights the viewer with its beauty. She knows just how to do it, how to create beautiful worlds. In the viewer this becomes a deeply-felt experience, not merely a shallow sensation.
It’s no surprise, then, that Murawska is also drawn to the work of German Expressionists and that her most recent master is Emil Nolde, who painted sunsets as if he was swallowing them, as if they were burning his entrails. That lived experience again. There’s even less deliberation here: painting flows like a wave set in motion by an impulse. It flows with colour and light.
Just colour, just landscapes and flowers. So little and so much. Just art. Real, solid and sensuous. Looking at Beata Murawska’s paintings, we may hear at the back of our mind the words of another classic of the genre, the colourist Hanna Rudzka-Cybisowa: ‘Art will always be contemplation, for otherwise it would cease to be what it is: that is, exactly that – contemplation.’
Photos: Ignacy Śmigielski