No 3 (95) 2013
July - September


In the painting by Irmina Staś a picture - man - organism have been inseparably connected. Through these three areas the artist has dealt with existential issues; indicating with great sensitivity the transitory nature and fragility of human existence.

Malwina Domagała

Historian and art critic. PhD student at the Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw. She publishes texts on contemporary art.

Malwina Domagała

SHE HAS BEEN GRADUALLY EXPANDING HER RESEARCH FIELD and discovering the world of human thoughts and emotions. She has rendered this by means of her own creation involving biomorphic, multicolored abstract forms. From an anthropologic point of view, as presented by Hans Belting, she has asked a fundamental question about an image, its place in the cultural and biological context, and provided an answer: "Naturally, man is the place of images. Why naturally? Because he is a natural place for images, being a sort of a living organ for images. In spite of all the devices of today that receive and store images, only human being can receive and interpret these in an active manner (i.e., ephemeral, controlled, etc.), even when the devices set certain norms. After all, who is man?"1).

At the beginning Irmina Staś was interested in an individual within the context of biological functions, being focused solely on physical aspects of human body; trapped, marked with pain and suffering, with visible signs of mutilations and scars. Starting with physiology, the artist has developed biomorphic structures, painting compositions that seemed to grow out organically from the center of the picture, from inside the canvas, revealing the immanent life of their own. As Irmina Staś describes this: "I have been constructing organisms out of: personal experience, rotting fragments of nature, creatures borrowed from the surrounding and purely abstract components. [...] I have made an effort to give up any desire to design canvases, to realize concepts - for the sake of observation and following my thoughts".

For the artist a creative process, application of paint onto a canvas, creation of biological and organic forms have been the transposition of her individual experience of the perception of reality. This has been a kind of remedy and a passage into a new stage of life and art, more optimistic, sensitive to the world and new territories of association.

The latest pieces by Irmina Staś - through their own, unique stylistics - enter deep layers of human psyche and inner experience which serve as a stimuli to paint a picture. The search for relevant form and palette, an abstract sign, reveal the fascination with the world in all its manifestations: in human and natural phenomena dimension. On her canvases the artist defines her own concept of the world inhabited by the forms that are not fully defined and ambiguous that she calls "organisms". These amorphous, organic and plant forms, maintained in the subtle palette of monochromatic grays, mauves, browns and whites, outlined and entangled in rhizomes, placed against a neutral white or black background seem to be gradually moving and expanding. Some forms - linked by a tangle of lines - spread, claiming a whole surface of the canvas, thus resembling a colorful ornament against a dark background. Besides movement and changeability, there is a halt leading to a "frozen organism", the forms get immobile immersed in cool blue shades.

At the very moment when the artist completes her picture - "organism", it adopts a life of its own in a symbolic, hardly perceptible manner. White and gray, silvery lines tangled around an intensely red shape, seem to unravel and untwist in order to get liberated and find a way to relieve an inner tension. Other compositions offer an impression of the passing time, impermanence, fleeting, intensified by withered plant stalks entangled with rhizomes inside a colorful form.

The "Organisms" painting series by Irmina Staś emanate a discreet, gradually released power, the organic forms right to exist with contrasting opposites: weakness and strength; permanence and impermanence, lasting and passing.


1) Hans Belting, Anthropology of Image. Sketches for Studies on Imager, translated by Mariusz Bryl, Cracow 2007, p. 70 -71


Irmina Staś, "Organisms", the Visiting Gallery, Warsaw, June - July 2013.