Emma Grzonkowski | Eden

Inspired by the ethereal nature of women, Emma Grzonkowski fuses reality with fantasy for her stunning new collection, Eden . In between swirls of colour and flowers – both succulent and poisonous – blooms a sense of serenity unseen in the figurative painter’s previous collections. “I am in a much brighter place than I have been with previous works,” Emma reveals. “Whilst in the past I have centred on overcoming trauma, these female figures exude a sense of happiness and peace. They have a godly and untouchable essence, existing within an idealistic world.” The body of work takes its title from the Garden of Eden, a paradise described in the biblical Book of Genesis and later depicted in classical artworks like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. In this (some argue mythical) place, the land is rich with beautiful flowers and an innate feeling of pleasure and tranquillity. “I felt that the theme of Eden suited this work perfectly, both visually and metaphorically,” Emma explains. “The garden relates to the idea of creation and a fresh start, which is represented in the collection’s narrative undertones. My figures are frozen in an existential, dreamlike state.” From irises to dahlias and gardenias, Emma explores the symbolism of flowers and their historical legacy in her striking original paintings. Unlike previous collections, she has used models rather than her own self-image to move the focus from her personal experience to a collective emotional state which viewers can tap into. A progression in style is marked by a noticeably broader colour palette and bolder energy, which is inspired by the hip-hop genre and artists like Alphonse Mucha and Frida Kahlo. She adds: “Greens and yellows create a fresh look – it’s all about how the colours react with each other. Flesh tones bring the figures into reality. It poses the question of how we imagine heaven, and how we would feel if we were transported there.” Speaking on the intrinsic message of Eden , she says: “It’s about seeing into the future and laying the past to rest. I invite you to walk with me through the Garden of Eden and experience the ethereal.”

Dreamlike … it’s an ideal existence, a world of hazy dreams filled with feelings and visions that come and go.

This is an evocative piece, with the girl lying down and looking directly at the viewer. Both sensual and peaceful, she is at one with nature – immersed in the fallen petals and dripping roses. The richness of the deep greens is alluring, with the flower itself a symbol of immortal love.

Amaranth Mixed media on box canvas | 100cm x 130cm

Symbolising splendid beauty, this is a very calming and tranquil artwork. The girl looks at peace with herself and her surroundings, and is enjoying the natural beauty around her. I blended different colours – including pastel greens and blues – to create a very fresh palette.

Amaryliss Mixed media on box canvas | 99.5cm x 130cm

This intoxicating flower can be deadly. Its fragrant flowers belie its poisonous nature, which I have tried to reflect in the hypnotic feeling of this piece. Her eyes really draw you into this painting.

Oleander Mixed media on box canvas | 130cm x 100cm

It’s all about how the colours react with each other, and the progression of my artistic style. Combining colours keeps it interesting.

Sending or receiving gardenias can be a way to express a secret love. There is a playful lightness which is captured by the white background. This was one of the first paintings I created in my new series.

Gardenia Mixed media on box canvas | 130cm x 100cm

The iris flower derives its name from the ancient Greek goddess of sea and sky. Using the rainbow as a bridge between heaven and earth, Iris was a messenger of the Olympian gods, linking them to humanity.

Iris Mixed media on box canvas | 130cm x 100cm

Deeply embedded in Aztec culture, dahlias are a symbol of commitment and an everlasting bond. During the reign of Queen Victoria, the beauty of the stem came to represent both dignity and elegance.

Dahlia Mixed media on box canvas | 100cm x 130cm

The energy in this piece is volatile. The couple are caught in an imaginary whirlwind, but save each other by weathering the storm as one. As long as they are together, they will be fine.

Saved Mixed media on box canvas | 120cm x 100cm

This flower has long been associated with the powers of protection, with English folklore depicting it as a symbol of everlasting love. This is a dreamy piece; she is lost in her imagination, as suggested by the otherworldly pose.

Yarrow Mixed media on box canvas | 130cm x 100.5cm

Biography

Through her provocative artworks, Emma Grzonkowski mixes colour with themes of love, grief and female empowerment. Her emotive art caught the attention of music giants Spotify, with whom she collaborated for 'Who We Be Live' in 2017. During a difficult time in her life, the graphic design graduate used her feelings of loss and heartache as a stimulus to form her artistic style. Describing it is a “form of therapy”, she still uses herself for photographic reference when the piece is deeply personal to her. Illustrating a spectrum of emotions – from light to dark – her paintings are a journey into both Emma’s and our own psyche. First she sketches out the composition with a pencil before deciding on a colour palette determined by the feelings behind the piece. The next step is to layer the canvas with watered-down inks and acrylic paints to create texture. When satisfied, she uses the background to create the world the character embodies. Alternately obliterating and refining the image brings further energy and movement. Emma, who was born in Crewe and now lives in Chester, says: “My art stems from an emotion or energy that I want to convey on the canvas from within. The nucleus of my work revolves around matters of the heart, either from my own personal experiences or from identifying with other people and translating their emotions.” Another must-have when creating art is turning up the music! She explains: "It's very important for me to always have music playing when I create art, as it evokes emotion and intensifies the process. It usually has a similar feel to the piece I'm painting; for instance, if I want to produce a high-energy piece I will play high-tempo music."

My previous work has centred on overcoming trauma, but these female figures exude a sense of happiness and peace.

The images contained within this literature are an artistic representation of the collection. To best experience our art, we recommend you contact your local gallery to arrange a viewing. © Washington Green 2018. The content of this brochure is subject to copyright and no part can be reproduced without prior permission.

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