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FEAR OF THE WILDERNESS WITHIN

Enjoy an exclusive SWARM Mag interview with Gosia Machon, the painter of brutally honest and bare watercolour, acrylic and oil paintings, coming to life on pure instinct and depicting landscapes as nature merged with our psyche.
Machon_Maske

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on an art book. I paint with watercolors on unprimed fabric, which makes everything blurred and imprecise, and which also changes the content of the painted motifs. The material lets me think about the borders between painting, books and objects.

It’s important for me to change materials and techniques from time to time to lose my routines and provoke new discoveries.

What influenced your painting aesthetic?

When I was a child and a teenager, I often used to visit my uncle who himself was a painter. We painted a lot together in a loose and open-minded atmosphere. The selected materials and our own way of finding visual motifs had a huge influence on and still has today.

Machon_Mond
Machon_Insel

What themes do you focus on?

I focus on the idea of a landscape, figure, narration and abstraction within a practice that includes drawing and painting, mostly with ink on paper.

Does your birthplace reflect in your works?

During my childhood, we often moved to different places and I learnt to find my most important reference sources in myself and less in my surroundings. I used to spend most of my time in the countryside, close to forests, fields and meadows. Since living in a big city, I long for these silent and strong natural sceneries, so it feels necessary for me to paint dark green landscapes but they don’t refer to real places.

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Machon_weiter

Is there an ecologic background to your work?

In a practical aspect, yes. I love the thought of creating a complex image with just one sheet of paper and some drops of simple watercolor – using materials that almost everybody can use. My works are not disposable products. They are rather mental “products” that have little importance in terms of environmental pollution. I am happy to be able to work and survive like this.

Is the current political situation in your country reflected in your paintings?

Loss of control is a big subject in my work. The figures that I portray are disempowered, swooned or lost in and through the power of nature – a timeless situation in which political topics are not explicitly displayed. You can see it as a commentary on what is going on outside everyday and everywhere but there are many possibilities to read and to feel the paintings.

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Machon_damals

How would you describe your technique?

I aim for impossible paintings, in which I embrace every mistake, every astonishment, any breaking of my own rules and conceptions. I also aim for paintings in which I am very precise, simple and uncomplicated in my language, like the direct transfer of just one perception. I don’t paint what I understand, I paint what I do not understand. And, sometimes, I paint and then I understand or approach something. Drawing and painting is a method for me to formulate something impossible and to clear my mind. Before I start, I don’t have a plan for what will happen on the paper but, afterwards, it always seems to be obvious.

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Machon_Ruh

The themes of sceneries and nature are prominently featured in your work, oftentimes in a metaphorical sense of the “mental” landscape. What is the thought process behind your paintings?

My paintings show sceneries in nature. “Nature” can be a natural disaster or just a forest. “Nature” can also be our psyche, our subconsciousness or our body – our own wilderness. We only have ostensible control over our life and surroundings  – which is tragic and absurd at the same time. 

Our society (or our entire civilization) tries to control nature in order to protect itself from it and to empower it. “Wilderness” is often viewed with fear and suspicion and is not accepted as part of our life. It could be a hungry insect on a cornfield, a piece of wasteland in the city but also a strong emotion, such as grief, fear, love, shame, etc. That cannot be controlled in certain situations.

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Machon_Tal

I am interested in those moments when it’s suddenly no longer possible to control this nature that is inherent to us and surrounding us. These moments where we experience our fainting, a certain extraction, which also means a connection with our origin and our essence. I think that our human core is encased in a layer of civilization and culture but all our actions, our desires, everything that drives us is largely guided by our body and our genetic heritage. This close human connection to nature, in all its ambiguity and contradiction, is the recurring motif of my visual investigation.

BIO / Gosia Machon (*1979) is a Polish-German artist based in Hamburg. In her practise, which includes painting and drawing as well as art books and zines, she focuses on the liminal space between narration and abstraction. After graduating from the University of Applied Sciences Hamburg (Illustration / Dep. Design), she spent many years realizing projects, collaborations and exhibitions in and in between Israel, Turkey, Greece, Poland, France and Germany. She also teaches workshops and lectures in several Design Universities and art academies where her focus lies in encouraging a non-judgemental, free creative process.

CREDITS
Artwork / Gosia Machon
Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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