The Vulture-Angels of Bogusława Bortnik-Morajda

Kinga Nowak

The artistic work of Bogusława Bortnik-Morajda is inspired by disciplines associated with her passions: psychology, geology, botany, interior design and design of spatial forms. These disciplines enrich, and sometimes inform her artistic career, marking new directions.

Psychology certainly has a strong influence on Bortnik-Morajda’s paintings. Her figural compositions often depict complex interpersonal relations. The meetings of the characters, the stories and events are frequently set in nature, which carries a number of symbolic associations. There are motifs of water, sky, forest and earth.

In May 2014 Bortnik-Morajda took part in the exhibition ‘Solar System’ organized and curated by me in the Browar Lubicz in Krakow. In line with the concept of the exhibition, the artist, best known previously for expressive figural paintings, embarked on projects related to her passion for botany and design. The works created for the exhibition brought an unexpected result, launching a new direction in Bortnik-Morajda’s artistic practice. She produced spatial works, composed of natural elements such as stones, forms designed for a particular space, such as Rajska jabłoń (Paradise Apple / Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil), and large-format digital prints (Cumulus). Paradise Apple / Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a work conceived as a reference to ecology: an artificial tree bears silver, unreal fruit. I see a continuation of these efforts in the artist’s latest works, such as the series ‘Światło nieba’ (Light of the Sky) or the digital collages entitled Łąka (The Meadow). The large-format prints serve as the background for diverse elements integrated into a coherent space. In her recent projects, Bortnik-Morajda combines three-dimensional objects, digital collage and painting to create works in the style of environment art. These imaginary, symbolic, life- and nature-affirming worlds have a special, surreal character. They demonstrate both the unpredictability of nature and the logic of its laws. They indicate our inseparable bond with nature. The works from the series ‘Light of the Sky’ contain references to the heavenly and earthly spheres. They depict rocks-meteorites. The two spheres are important in her most recent painting, Buty (Shoes), a work unique in its expressiveness. The dualism of the world, made clear by the compositional idea, is emphasized by the division into zones of darkness and light. But these domains are reversed: that which is earthly is light, that which is heavenly is dark and dangerous. The black vulture-angels, ominously circling the huddled figure of a young girl against the background of a stormy sky, evoke anxiety because their protective role is lost. The girl, possibly a teenager who is entering maturity and leaving her carefree childhood behind, is shown in a moving, embryonic pose. She is surrounded by a void. It is undoubtedly one of those paintings that remain long in the memory.

Bortnik-Morajda’s paintings and her three-dimensional and digital works naturally complement each other, forming a coherent artistic expression of a woman full of passion, vitality and creative energy, who is receptive to the world of people, animals and nature.

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