‘They were wild and dark and dressed in colourful clothing, their movements wide and flexible, strange and mysterious, on the grey background of the town, they would often come to our house.
The railway station was fascinating, it was where everyone arrived, and from there they left, news from Warsaw and the outside world came in every day, news about the war. In the morning, a woman threw herself on the tracks, divided into two, she lay on the railroad tracks in two equal parts, wearing a pale blue sweater embroidered with flowers, a kerchief on her head, and white socks that reached her knees and boots with laces. From the hill, Renate took me to see her.’ – AW
Ariela Widzer was born in Silesia, Poland in 1949. Her career includes animation, illustration, design, interior design and art-directing in feature films. The focus of this exhibition is on her paintings, ranging from early pieces from the 1970s to her current work.
Widzer’s early work is deeply emblematic of the psychedelic and pop aesthetics that defined the late 60’s and 70’s counterculture and incorporates elements of graphic design and illustration into colourful paintings and ink drawings that were strongly influenced by her time in London where she was exposed to music, clubs and magazines such as Oz.
Often painted on wood panels, Widzer’s work thematically evolves into figurative manifestations of the occult and mysticism. Androgynous, asexual figures on the margins of humanity embodying energetic fields, the elements or the zodiac all painted on a flat pictorial plane. These paintings are bold but careful and involved, layered while sustaining an effortless fluidity.
In Jerusalem her palette is dusty and subdued then becomes vivid and fauvist in India, neon and burnt in 80’s Berlin. It travels, tries to recalibrate to a shifting affective atmosphere.
Widzer later captures in her paintings an atmosphere of intimacy, the domestic simultaneously familiar and otherworldly, close but far away. Her figures remain sexless, they extend playful gestures into a shared commonality, into personal symbolism, into a deep imaginary.
This exhibition brings together fifty works that spans almost 50 years and both celebrate and bear witness to an unconventional, adventurous life, that similarly to the paintings is brimming with curiosity, longing and sense of wonder.
Widzer received her BA from The Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem in 1967. She has had solo exhibitions at Galerie de Licht in Berlin, Fort Art Gallery, Tourne, Belgium, National Hotel Gallery, Havana, Cuba and The Artists House, Jerusalem as well as participating in group exhibitions at Steven Malz Gallery, London, Mabat Gallery, Tel Aviv and Ein Hod Central Gallery, Israel. As well as being an artist Widzer also worked as an art director on numerous films and worked as a junior animator for the illustrious animation company “Halas and Batchelor”.
She lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal