World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 19 – Marta Brysha
Marta Brysha is an Artist of embroidered works. She has been practising her Art form for 25 years. Eight years ago she moved to Tasmania where she was fortunate enough to meet a group of talented textile Artists who encouraged and inspired her to move into the sphere of fine Art.
When Marta Brysha was 11 she visited her grandmother in the mountains of Croatia. Her grandmother introduced her to the magic of embroidery. It made a great impression. When Marta was in her twenties she remembered her grandmother’s embroidery and felt that it was something she really wanted to do.
She started her professional career initially as a musician. ‘My father was a symphony musician. I was a professional cellist for ten years. So I was aware of the discipline, dedication, objective self-criticism and consistent practise that are involved to develop an Artistic skill to an elite level. There was a huge hole in my life after leaving my music career and I was at a loss on how to fill it for about ten years, until my move into visual Art.’
One day ‘I bought a ‘how to’ book, some thread and fabric and taught myself. Over the next 20 or so years I developed my technical and design abilities, but I always felt limited by the commercial fabrics, thread types and colours that are generally available.’
Her sister, nine years older than her, studied fine Art painting. ‘As a child she would take me on visits to Art galleries and Art studios. She always spoke to me as though I were an adult and so we talked about Art processes and composition and the difference between ‘good’ Art and ‘bad’. I learned to read the language of abstract Art.’
Haven and Earth
In Tasmania she joined the textile organisation Stitching and Beyond. Over the years she has participated in many workshops, often taught by internationally renowned fibre Artists and Artists working in other fields, such as drawing and printing.
‘Probably the most crucial thing I learned was how to dye my own fabrics and threads. This freed me from the limits of commercial products and allowed me access to a plethora of silk fabrics and threads that I can dye to a specific palette for each Artwork.’
She works in series with each series taking two or three years to complete. ‘At the moment I am working on two series: the Heaven and Earth series and the Shapes of Life series. Both of them will be featured in an exhibition in the Arps Window Gallery in Amsterdam in October 2014.
The Heaven and Earth series consists of large hand embroidered works on silk depicting interpretations of faux-coloured satellite images of the earth and stellar phenomena. ‘The central theme of this series is about looking at ourselves objectively from a distance, about recognizing the beauty of our cosmos, of innovation and destruction.’
‘In a way this series is both a plea for the preservation of this beautiful blue planet and a lament for the destruction that is wrought through war and greed, and the complacency that condemns so many people to a life of terror, hunger and hardship as a result.’
Lines, angles, texture and colour
“The Shapes of Life” series is composed of smaller, intimate Works in ink and stitched on woven paper. ‘This series looks at cross-cultural symbolism in traditional crafts and is a tribute to the (mostly) women who uphold these visual traditions even as their traditional lifestyles are gradually eroded. They are the quiet ones, the unsung heroes who pass on what is central to our humanity from one generation to another.’
In more general terms she describes her work as follows: ‘I would say that the theme inspiring my work is the natural world and how we use science to understand our environment through mathematical fields, such as fluid dynamics and geometry. I see my environment, in abstract terms, as a series of lines, angles, texture and colour. In essence I am a mark maker who happens to work with silk thread, rather than a pencil or a printmakers tools.’
A key piece in her oeuvre is difficult to point out. ‘Each Artwork is part of a continuum. To choose one work as key would be, for me, to declare a full stop, to say that this work is the culmination of me as an Artist, or even a particular series. I would like to think that this would never happen. That my work will continue to grow, that within each series each work stands on its own and yet forms part of a meaningful and cohesive narrative.’
‘Make the Art you are driven to make’ is her philosophy. ‘Forget about what is fashionable or saleable or acceptable and focus on what makes you passionate and keeps you interested. I believe that if you do this you will produce something that is worthwhile. Whether your achievements are recognized by galleries and Art collectors is out of your hands to a certain extent.’
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