“Art is my elixir, my tonic, my precipice. In terms of my art practice, I paint from the inside out as a result of my dream-sequences, giving me an insightful platform to create and explore textures, tones and symbolic elements from an emotive directive. My oil paintings are conceptually layered pieces containing predominantly strong figurative images; ‘Faces as Icons’, a desconstruction of history, literature, fairytales and the allure of the modern icon and angel. I rely on desire, beauty and seduction to invite the viewer to a deeper perspective to envisage that which continues beyond the canvas. I consider it to be a form of story telling where my paintings are a mere detail of a far greater image. With no formal training, I have created my own unique style which I feel combines Naiive, Renaissance and Gothic-Surrealism, utilising my own poetry and borrowed lines of scripture incorporated with my own as an important factor to my process. The use of text often scrawled across the face and throat as tattoos or brandings and as decorative tapestries to garments has become one of my Trademarks introducing further dimensions and an altered structure to my work. The titles to my paintings need equal emphasis as integral to the artwork, evocative or ‘telling’ often moving the viewer into a deeper space of speculation. I believe my work frees the imagination and provides many an occasion for ‘happy accident’ and Grace to add influence and fanciful anticipation to the viewer.” – Sandra Jane Suleski
As an avid lover of poetry of all kinds, my true inspiration for my art and creativity lies on the precipice or knitted between two edges, if you like. When I read Anne Sexton, for she is my true love/nemesis, she carries me to that forbidden place where I can turn my soul into colour and texture. If she were music I would be a singer not a painter ! So I listen to her spoken word often, returning to that voice, her magic and to that edge that defies gravity and sanity. I become looped within her drawl and intonations. I become her art and therefore she becomes mine.Many people shy away from her in fear of her honesty within her depression and naturally her self-propelled death and encourage me to sway away from the likes of this influence and that of Sylvia Plath’s, especially due to my own ongoing bouts with depression and anxiety. Fear is what deters most. Fear that if engaging within such a driven emotive and torn necessity to express in such a manner could lead to one’s own downward spiral. For me it is my sanity and my safe place. It is my happy place within these words and voice. For it is a measure of my own self and my own strength, to extract those empathies and angst ridden words and to close my eyes and replace that energy, and mix it with paint. If you are able to listen to Anne Sexton reciting her poetry, you may gain more of an insight into from where my art stems
Sandra-Jane Suleski ( Kupiec)
Born: 1969 Palmerston North
Sandra-Jane Suleski was born in Palmerston North in 1969 and has been living and working in Northland since 1994.
An avid lover of writing and poetry she turned to painting whilst residing in Greece in 1989, with her first public exhibition in New Zealand in 1991. Since then she has exhibited regularly throughout the North Island with a string of successful solo and group exhibitions to date.
Sandra-Jane’s oil paintings are textural and vibrant containing strong predominantly figurative images with a purely emotive directive. Her work is a result of her passions and influence when she left New Zealand as a young woman destined for Greece. A desire she had held close since a child. She imitates these passions experienced on Mykonos, Rhodos and mainland Greece vividly through her art, personal poetry and ‘borrowed’ scripture. Imitating in her way the raw-edge and devotion of the culture, beauty and peoples there.
Her paintings are often noted as being ”edgy, personal and pure of heart’, and sometimes deemed controversial, and though they can feature symbolic elements of religion or literary history, they always remain contemporary and sympathetic to the subject matter expressed.
Sandra-Jane has many influences vital to her work, yet the likes of Von Stuck, Clairmont, Modigliani, Chagall, Burne-Jones, Botticelli, and the writings of Sappho and Sylvia Plath feature highly on her list.
She is a collector of ancient texts and scripture which she oftentimes feels as integral in forming a base to her work, especially in her paintings from her ongoing religious series.
Interlaced with her own poetry, these pieces are littered with scrawlings of sacred scripture and devotions, adding depth and an historical focal point to her interpretations.
Her painting style has evolved, altered and shifted dramatically over the years, even been commented on, that it couldn’t possibly be the same artist. Commencing with ethereal water-colour washes in the early 1990’s, it depicted a loose emotional, mostly surreal account of her subject which in turn a few years on, morphed into regimented oil works created with the sharp edge of the palette knife producing a mosaic-like relief style of painting, with the softness of brush to fill-in and enhance the bold linear pieces. Some of these spectacular larger works were included in her “Doorways and Other Portals” Exhibition 1998 and “This Fig-like Fire” in 2000. These paintings were extremely time consuming making it inevitable, Sandra-Jane would stumble into yet another dimension and facet to her style of painting. The result has been her figurative mostly theme-based portrayals that she has been working on for the past few years. It is the use of these softer brush strokes and rubbed effects which has enabled her work the platform needed to launch her in the direction to which she is gaining significant recognition, and of which she finds is inherently rewarding.
She has recently completed a large body of work, comprising of some 22 paintings between 2009 to 2010, entitled “Love Icon”.
These figurative pieces are presented almost as Icons encompassing strong images of Love that represent the emotional and poignant stigmas of our time. They explore the realms of Art, Religion, Literature and Mythology and incorporate text and influence from various sources and her original poetry. Paintings include intricate portrayals of Salomé, Ophelia, The Virgin of Guadalupe, Pandora, Jeanne d’Arc ( Joan of Arc ), The Temple of Venus….
They are unique textural oil works on canvas, which, with both the use of palette knife and brush, adds a further dimension and deepens the aspect to the work.
Sandra-Jane has been strongly motivated to focus on the emotive strengths and downfalls of these women through her painting, not always bearing a true likeness to their looks, but how they are portrayed to her through their strengths/weaknesses, with colour, texture and prose.
Currently she is working on two new bodies of work, namely the completion of her Geisha inspired series, exploring the decoration of the Kimono and the faces behind it and her series of Angels, which examines the history, beauty and Fall of The Angel.
Sandra-Jane’s paintings are known to be included in private collections throughout New Zealand, Australia, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, U.S.A and Japan.
Sandra-Jane resides in Whangaroa Harbour, Northland