Katrina Sadrak

​​​KATRINA SADRAK (b.1978) is an international artist born in Poland. She currently lives and works between England, Poland and China. She is an exhibiting member of the New Fringe and prestigious Leeds Fine Artists and her paintings are in public and private collections.

She graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts Pedagogy from Swietokrzyska Academy and furthered her education by undertaking a Ph.D. in Fine Arts at the Jan Kochanowski University of Humanities and Sciences in Poland and Tianjin Polytechnic University in China. 

Katrina's work is a balance of the ancient and the ultimate. She explores images of the universe using traditional painting techniques. 

„My research has provided me with the opportunity to draw connections between the two-different discipline: Fine Arts and Astronomy, and to communicate some difficult concepts through my paintings.”

She studied history of art, medieval symbolism and alchemy of colour, ancient painting techniques such as egg tempera, gold-leaf and Chinese traditional lacquer painting.
​She paints in oils and her work is heavily influenced by her relationship with the medium.

“I start first by introducing colour - I begin applying layers of byzantine gold… then other colours, shapes and lines, and I respond to their development. The paintings arise organically and appear through subtle layers of paint that are applied and partially removed over a gold surface. The textured, layered, forms and figures produce images that appear to have been uncovered, discovered; as if at an archaeological site. ​The opportunity for discovery is very constantly exciting and one of the main reasons why I do what I do.”

Her art relates back to the origins of earth; to the existence of matter under the influence of spirit, changing into forms in which being and spirit meet each other directly. Bringing time to its end… tracing it back to its beginning.

“ Art  is my meditation. I see it as Alchemy; my Magnum Opus.  Journey of the Soul”.

Katrina’s images rediscover places of fascination revisit and explore old locations and simultaneously enter new territory. Surfaces are subjected to an equivalent of erosive forces, a synonym for a kind of archaeological excavation revealing layers - long forgotten contexts and relationships. Gold over lead resurrects the provinces of the alchemist. Behind orthodox reality, lies something more real, yet less accessible. 

dr Magda Szplit , Krakow 2017

„Universe of nature”
 Metaphysical desire it is desire for  the infinity, which always escapes.

 „The metaphysical desire does not long to return, for it is desire for a land not of our birth, for a land foreign to every nature, which has not been our fatherland and to which we shall never betake ourselves.”
Emmanuel Levinas

People have been looking at the sky for centuries, treating them as a source of scientific, philosophical, artistic and spiritual exploration. Katrina’s Sadrak paintings brings to mind The Universe, space and its content. The artist does not copy existing phenomena or objects but she calls into existence of her own world, demonstrating its duality: metaphysical and material.
While presenting terrestrial space of the mundane world, her earth tone color scheme refers to a range of colorful ocean with a shades of blues, dark navy to cobalt violets, harmoniously coexists with deep greens, amber and turquoise. In paintings related to sacrum, she uses a golden background, referring to Byzantine iconography. 

Somewhere in-between, the glaze and multiple layers of paint, thinned with a medium, she attempts to present the visible and the invisible in art; the secret space of the image. Defined and emphasized center, surrounded by less clearly defined areas, organised in such way, that would attract and pulling the viewer into hypnotic atmosphere of the deep space, or pulling him out by disturbing experience of the eerie silence of space, concentration, and retained energy.

The earthly everydayness seems to be distant from the strange, mysterious space of the universe. These images which combines elements from both worlds: cosmic components and elements of nature, make us realize, that there is a permanent interaction among these worlds, the Earth and the Space in vision of unity. She explores concept of the relation between the infinity and the nature - in the broadest sense, metaphysics with references to religion and the history of painting. Her work becomes an excuse for making fundamental questions about our humanity, our origins, meaning and the purpose of our existence.

Nowadays, for many artists, the primary way to attract viewers is to create shock, disgust, indignation in response to the rhythm of our civilization, demanding stronger and stronger provocative stimuli. Katrina’s  paintings prove that this is not the only way for a modern artist. There is still admiration of the sublime, wide range of subtle colors, contemplation of  beauty and metaphor.

Adam Berry, Doncaster 2014

Taschism ... Katrina Sadrak ‘Kasia‘...

is a ‘taschist’ catalyst and motif are from ‘the everyday experience’ (rich in character and typically experimental as a younger woman Kasia interrupted her academic studies to work as an 'elephant rider' with a travelling circus in Spain ‘the everyday‘?) - a different response to each individual subject - she views herself merely as ‘Kreator’ and disseminator (without which, in short, the work cannot exist) - and posits the idea of reading as an action, that as readers we are ‘agents’ - that reading (image here) should not be equated with passivity, that reading modifies its subject and the reader invents in (through) reading, just as lived space is also the space of  fantasy. The voice of the author [almost] disappears. For Jacques Ranciére’s ‘Emancipated Spectator’ this is that  emancipation begins when we challenge the opposition between viewing and acting  - the spectator - composes her own poem with the elements of the poem before her. She participates in the performance by refashioning it in her own way - by drawing back, for example, from the vital energy that it is supposed to transmit in order to make it a pure image and associate this image with a story which she has read or dreamt, experienced or invented. For Salvatore Quasimodo text, (image here, poetry) translates as ‘...the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal... which the reader recognises as his own’. Her images transcend and ennoble the everyday experience - maybe there’s something worth thinking about for a while in that - for all of us.

 Modernist idioms.  Method, material, application, process, form...

 It is a joy to watch her at work on the easel - a painting demonstration, an old 1900's art college building. Inside this cool interior, in the half light, old iconographies seep from the subtle undulations, fragments and traces of a scratched and distressed wall acting as ‘touchstones‘, places whose essence evokes and makes palpable an intuitive response. It is in the journeys, the liminal spaces in-betwixt and in-between different destinations, spaces empty of defined intent where the unexpected is revealed and responses triggered by barely visible traces of a journey through time. Images rediscover places of fascination, revisit and explore old locations and simultaneously enter new territory. Surfaces are subjected to an equivalent of erosive forces, a synonym for a kind of archaeological excavation revealing layers - long forgotten contexts and relationships. Gold over lead resurrects the provinces of the alchemist. Behind orthodox realities lie others more real, yet less accessible.

The canvas's are executed with confidence, instinctively and directly. The artist and the unique bond with her materials - propagated so subtly that the viewer is unaware of, but appreciative of the result - on-site, soft, romantic lost and found edges of organic forms, the approach is risky, and involves taking chances - achieving things never anticipated or known before. Looked at closely the painterly surface qualities are as exiting and dramatic as the over-all images. There is a gaze within the image - not just a gaze between viewer and image. Part of their value is the time invested in their making, their is also a sense that individuals appreciate the tactile surface qualities - that we can 'feel' the 'touch' of the artist - that the 'act of doing it' has been 'ossified' - that we can see how they were made - that this manner of provocation can be subtle, nuanced. That we don't view the 'craft' of 'picture making' in a negative way.

Influenced by taschism and the Cobra group as a stylistic European variant of American abstract expressionism largely a spontaneous painting process of emotions, moods, ideas, but also linked to ‘heuristic’ painting; where achieving some desired result is by intelligent guesswork - rather than by systematic formula - where all of your previous painting experiences can come to bear - trusting your instincts. Where the benefits are speed and expediency. Heuristics can be applied when artists are looking for both realistic and imaginary truth. We use intuition to go directly to the outcome - both traditional and unconventional media, a sense of discovery, a willingness to embrace natural flow and avoid bias. To move foreword on sometimes incomplete information. When life and art are understood as a beautiful exercise great things can happen.
We forgo early accuracy and precision - and let early brush-strokes determine later ones - later can come the final adjustments; lighter here, darker there, soft and hard edges lost and found, more detail, less detail - the right balance of all the elements - to achieve the rightness that can be felt rather than explained.

Liminality, Limen, Threshold...

Henri Mantises once described the ‘use value’ of a modern painting as ‘a good armchair to rest in’. Katrina further questions the Greenbergian idea that '...depth has lost its dignity to surface [that] pictures used to have insides; now they only have outsides'. Posits that the two can co-exist. That '...this 'spatial illusion' - or rather the sense of it, is what we may miss, even more than the images that used to fill it'. To allow your gaze to fall upon one of the painterly edges of the canvas promotes a sense of the limen, or threshold into a contemplative, almost timeless 'non-place'. Victor Tuner after Arnold van Gennep wrote about a particular state of liminality, with Turner identifying 'it' as '...both a time that is not a time, and a place that is not a place'. Kasia's work evokes, or makes palpable in a visual sense this kind of liminal, mesmerised state of mind. The viewer no longer quite sure of their surroundings, which may please, or have an effect on some level, as an escape of some kind, albeit for a short space of time, from 'world'. Liminality always changes us - even if this is in small and subtle, nuanced ways. 'Outside of language'. Experiments with the psychology of the painted surface through studio practice ideas of both linear and atmospheric perspectival painterly devices - the joy of painting. As much about [Emile Nolde] paint as it is about subject, motif. At times there is a sense that the pleasure of painting can drown-out any content - Sophie Benson refers to '... a suspension of belief' essential to a viewers engagement with an image  - gives reference to a ‘surface’ that attracts, but simultaneously repels at a point that is too late, for one is already ‘... stuck to the image surface, seduced and drawn in’...

… a gallery interior, a modern painting exhibition. The viewers appear to 'dance' in-and-out of the picture plane.
Close, involved with the surface they then... Step back to view the effect. This is affect. Pigments, wine and black, copper and cream, gold. Alchemy. Viewers seduced (plural). No 'ducal seat' for 'one'.


I've Brought to Art

 I sit and dream.

I brought to Art desires and sensations:

things half glimpsed,

faces or lines, certain indistinct memories.

Let me submit to Art:

For Art knows how to shape beauties form,

almost imperceptibly completing life,

blending impressions, blending day by day.

 © Constantine. P. Cavafy