African Mask (after Man Ray), 2013
Collage on paper
54 x 47 inches
Paulina Olowska (b. 1976) is a Polish artist whose practice includes drawing, painting, collage as well as video and neon lights. The bulk of her imagery is borrowed from Soviet propaganda or American popular culture. Touching upon themes of feminism and consumerism, the protagonists of her cross-cultural figurative works are often fashionable women romantically portrayed with expressive brushstrokes or immersed in textual or geometric designs. Olowska received her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and currently lives and works in Mszana Dolna, Poland. Aside from her extensive exposure in international galleries such as Metro Pictures (New York), Simon Lee Gallery (London) and the Galerie Daniel Buchholz (Cologne), Olowska has participated in the Istanbul, Moscow and Venice biennials.Paying tribute to the American modernist Man Ray, Olowska’s African Mask (after Man Ray) is a collage of the celebrated 1926 photograph Kiki with African Mask. Unlike Ray’s rendition, which shows his lover Kiki resting her head horizontally onto a table while holding the wooden mask at a 90-degree angle, Olowska has here rotated the appropriated image and positioned Kiki vertically. The cut out black-and-white photograph is juxtaposed against an image of a 1980s styled red haired model who adds a degree of three-dimensionality to the otherwise flattened image. Numerous colorful strips are applied atop the assemblage and serve as graphic polychromatic adhesives.