The Directory of Artists

Natalia Hołub

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Graduated in 2010 with honours from the Studio of Wood Graving Techniques and the Art Book within the Academy of Fine Arts in Łodź, under the supervision of Prof. Andrzej Bartczak. She also did complementary studies in the Studio of Drawing, Comic Strip and Illustration run by Gabriel Kołat, Ph. D. During her studies she received fellowships from the Claudio Claudi Foundation in Italy and Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha in Spain. Natalia Hołub focuses on traditional graphic techniques and creates art books. She also draws and photographs. During her studies she received a bursary from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. She was also awarded twice in the Władysław Strzemiński competition in 2008 and 2009. She has exhibited her works in group shows in Berlin and Pesaro.

The Utopias of Place and Time is a series of colourful linoleum block prints and was her diploma work. Synthetically treated colourful forms contrast with the surrounding white of the paper and resemble Japanese graphics. Utopias by Natalia Hołub bring to mind idyllic landscapes, the places of wild nature. If somewhere there appears any trace of human presence, one can see that they were left by a “wild” man – a man who lived in symbiosis with nature. We see hearths, wigwams, a form resembling a hut on the peak of a mountain, a lake – all of that surrounds pointed mountain summits. Natalia Hołub’s graphics resemble works by expressionists from the beginning of 20th century and their idea of a return to the sources, which was supposed to be a cure for the degeneration of the civilised world. In Natalia’s works one can see a longing for a paradisiacal, clean world, even though the artist knows that this is an idea which we are unable to fully visualise. A lack of precision, which makes some of the works close to abstraction makes us aware of that these visions are unrealistic. It’s worth appreciating the artist’s technique. Colourful graphics require the preparation of a few matrixes for one print. The artist aptly operates with both colour nuances and a diversity of strokes.

Boxes are linoleum block prints of Japanese carbon paper, based on simple, linear drawings. The artist makes larger compositions out of them. The title boxes are unusual objects, full of surprises. They may turn into a house, a tree reaching a sky may grow from them, and thanks to a ladder we can climb to the very top of it.

In 2011 Natalia Hołub made a mural entitled The Kiss in the centre of Łódź on a wall at the intersection of Kilińskiego and Północna St. The wall which belongs to the company Grażka is the Wall Gallery, created by Norbert Trzeciak. Natalia Hołub did not use colour on the grey surrounding of the wall, which would be expected knowing her previous works. The wall was painted white and on that background there appeared black ferns of exaggerated size drawn with a very precise stroke and an abstract shape evoking associations with a mountain. The effect was strengthened by the roughness of the wall, which after painting it white, gave the impression of a snowy landscape on which flora suddenly appeared. And maybe the artist was referring to patters which resemble plants, created on window panes during heavy frost? One, colourful element of the mural was a red “ribbon”. It was an unusual landscape which looked as if it was from pre-historical times and it contrasted with the everyday surroundings of the work.

The most recent of Natalia’s works are drawings made using a think, mechanical pencil. They are inspired by the world of old book illustrations and stories from fairy tales by Eric Carle amongst others. Here the artist has devoted a lot of time to details, nuances of stroke, and texture within the works. Some of them present monsters as if they were taken out of medieval beast-books, others – mysterious plants. There are also unusual interiors, as in the drawing Parents, in which can be seen towards a background of furniture, with a precisely drawn technique resembling the structure of wood, there stand two richly decorated mirrors – one oval and one rectangular. The motif of a mirror has appeared a few times in Natalia’s works, although what’s interesting is that we never see what it reflects. Natalia’s drawings are not only dream-like worlds. Some of them are ironic such as the drawing Abroad, in which the view on the horizon seen from small houses was obstructed by monumental buildings making something like a defensive wall. In the work entitled From Polish land to a better land, the artist contrasts dried weeds around a sign PL ZŁ with a wreath made of thickly woven flowers in which there is a symbol of the Euro currency. In Euro 2012 she commented ironically on the hopes evoked by the championship of championships which was supposed to bring us new roads, great stadiums and sporting glory – in other words, to be a panaceum for all our national pains and complexes.

Natalia’s photographs are mainly impressions from exotic trips. Part of them are surely inspiration for graphics and drawings. One series made in different circumstances is entitled Forrest. Photographs are the documentation of a model of a forest made by the artist and featured in an animated movie. The photos emit a magic, darkened atmosphere. The work has an intermedia character. It is the documentation of another project – a model of a forest and at the same time an autonomous work, which was made based on another work, but may function individually.

Natalia Hołub is one of the youngest artist presented in the directory of artists from the province of Łódź. Her art is introverted and mysterious. It requires particular concentration, and the use of one’s own imagination. But imagination is a primary driving force within art before the idea emerges. Natalia Hołub for sure uses her imagination, especially the one that children have, which many adults push down to the deepest layers of sub consciousness. Children’s imagination connected with a quality graphic and drawing technique has previously brought interesting results.

Anka Leśniak

More at the artist’s web site:


Realization: Dianthus
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