‘ABACA’ series

Six paintings created during a residency in the former industrial city of Barreiro, outside Lisbon, in Spring 2019. The series continues Kulewska’s experimentation in abstraction, in which each of six canvases presents gently geometric forms set against a subdued background. Some of these coloured shapes appear as if folded like paper or cloth, as three-dimensional objects, or as delicately crenelated forms. The shapes seem to float in ‘infinite’ space, reminiscent of the Russian Suprematist painters, the art movement founded by Kazimir Malevich, who frequently used “the white” to represent a state of transcendence. Drawing on constructivist painting, the specificity of each shape’s design approximates human technology and industrial purpose, whether as garment cloth, machine patterns or printing tools, but these forms also suggest a human playfulness and movement, or perhaps a primitive, dream-like language. Abacá, derives from the abacá plant, originating from the Philippines and used in industry as a major source of high quality fibre prior to the introduction of synthetic textiles. A material used in cordage, hatmaking, teabags, carpeting, clothing and furniture, abacá featured prominently in the city of Barreiro, the site of Kulewska’s residency, before it was phased out with the city’s deindustrialisation in the early 1970s

'Abacá III', 2019 Oil on Canvas 160x140cm, 2019 

'Abacá I', 2019 Oil & fabric cut outs on Canvas 160x140cm, 2019 

'Abacá II', 2019  Oil & fabric cut outs on Canvas 160x140cm, 2019

'Abacá IV', 2019 Oil & fabric cut outs on Canvas 160x140cm, 2019

'Abacá V', 2019 Oil on Canvas 160x140cm, 2019

'Abacá VI', 2019 Oil on Canvas 160x140cm, 2019 

'Abacá' exhibition - Upper Galleries, Malta School of Art, Valletta, 2019