Polish artist Paulina Otylie Surys is exhibiting a new body of work at the Richard Young Gallery. Here at Volt Café we’re already familiar with Surys’ distinctive style in these stories, which betrays her background as a classically trained painter. Her innovative combinations of toners and inks over dry dyes on silver gelatin fibre paper results in very unique photographic works of art that have a haunting ambiance all of their own.
The Poem of Ecstasy | Paulina Otylie Surys
Embracing experimentation and creative adventure, Surys draws inspiration from the earliest forms of photography and eschews digitization to shoot exclusively on analogue. She uses an array of cameras – the most modern one made in the 1970’s – and works with a wide range of film sizes including 35mm, medium and large format. Her most recent experimentation has involved the wet-plate collodion process first introduced in 1851. This process has been described as ‘painting with light’ and in these works you can see the liquid marks across the print.
Surys is clearly inspired by classical paintings, literature, history, mythology and religion, thus ensuring each work is representative of her skills as an art director, photographer and painter. There’s a dreamy, druggy ripeness to her work which is very beguiling.
As Surys puts it, ‘I seek to draw something uniquely personal from my subjects, the very essence of their self. My elaborately detailed compositions possess a narrative that I hope will add insight into the soul of my subjects.’
By juxtaposing her eye for fashion photography with the chemical artistry of hand printed and finished silver gelatin prints, Surys creates hybrid photographs that are simultaneously seductive and unique.
The Garden of Earthly Delights | Paulina Otylie Surys
From the 6th February until the 27th April 2013
Richard Young Gallery
4 Holland Street
London W8 4LT
Words by Anna Bang
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