And the show must go on which is why Agata Wisniewski has rehung her solo show in her studio at the Alton Mill Arts Centre. During the temporary closure of inside dining in Peel Region, Agata, as the featured artist for October – November at the Millcroft Inn and Spa, had just curated and hung 20 of her pieces in their restaurant. Now, these inspirational works are on display again and showcased for viewing in her studio.
A visit to her studio is to accept an invitation into a world she has inhabited since a young child, the world of an artist and a seeker. Lush peonies and irises, soulful portraits of horses, and her powerful spiritual art are all imbued with a delicate and honed technique, the oil paints building a rich and layered sensuality. The viewer is pulled in beyond the veil of surface perfection, with a dive deep into personal pools of reflection.
With a double major in Visual Arts and Psychology from York University, Agata’s secondary education was an excellent foundation for her fine arts studies. She attended Cawthra Park Secondary School for the Arts in Mississauga when 15 years old, having moved here from her native Poland at 14 years of age. Her tenacity in embracing challenges started to show itself with her commitment to studying with ESL classes and in leaving behind the grandparents who had helped raise her.
As a young child, she was deeply influenced by her grandfather and his regard for nature. “He was a tree-hugger and felt that birch trees were healing.” Both her mother and grandfather were open and accepting of the sensitivities Agata felt, her observations, and reactions to the world around her.
This became a basis for her experiencing the spirituality and healing nature of the arts. She believes that, “You are a tool for what comes through you. They helped me open up to life.” Agata’s beliefs and studies continued to underline her artistic development and ground her with the twists and turns of her life. “At one point I had thought of doing Art Therapy.”
Along with marriage, three children, more studies at Ryerson University in Graphic Design and Graphic Communication, and work in the marketing departments of various corporations, Agata’s core strength was tempered, as is steel with fire, by the vicissitudes of life. While juggling work, the care of her children, and part-time teaching at Visual Arts Mississauga, she came to a point where it was crucial to rebalancing the different demands in her personal and work life.
Agata’s innate connections to the natural world tethered her to the sacredness of life, her own survival, and the need to protect her children. Through her strength of character, determination, and devotion to her young children, she arrived at a point where she could say, “Now you design your life, focus on yourself, your growth.” The young girl living with her grandparents in Poland, taking art classes from a young age, winning her first prize at the age of seven, the National Award for an arts competition, had journeyed a long way, endured, and re-emerged.
Now living in Caledon for the past five years and closer to the natural beauty of southern Ontario, a new rhythm of life has evolved. The children have become young adults, their home life is busy, as is the way with teens and twenty-somethings, and she and her partner have the care of her mother and grandmother. So, Agata’s studio at the Alton Mill Arts Centre is her time and her place, where she can reconnect with herself. It is also where she works on Thursdays as a Gallery Coordinator for Headwaters Arts in their gallery.
Agata muses that, “Having learned how to hold this energy and let it guide me and develop…it is how you create yourself.” We look at the trajectory of her body of work, from the portraits of horses, to the magnificent and magnified unfolding of petals in blossoming flowers, to the monks and Buddhas. She comments that horses are, “angels in animals bodies and will open up to humans.”
The monk series includes, Stillness, Spirit Talks Through Me, Initiation, The Flame, and portray the strength Agata finds in their specific energy signatures. Her Spirit Art collection includes these along with other highly symbolic visual ‘gestalts’ of psychological growth, states, and dynamics.
The flowers embody much of how Agata has recreated and found herself. She speaks of them as “healing, a beam of light”, while I see the beauty in the process of how the blossoms unfolded. The literal full flowering of a bloom, its opening up, and the illumination of its inner beauty are symbiotic with and a revelation of her own personal journey.
While Agata speaks her own truths simply, “love, trust, light, they always save me”, it is her art that shows and helps us to feel this humble strength. Her spectacular pieces may be viewed at her studio at the Alton Mill Arts Centre and online at https://www.indigo4evr.com/.
Thumbnail Sketches© is a column Connie Munson, local photographer, artist, and writer, has developed for various arts organizations to profile their artist-members. She is a director on the board of Headwaters Arts, which has their gallery in the Alton Mill Arts Centre in Caledon, a member of several other arts organizations, and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reference Links – Agata Wisniewski
- INDIGO4evr – Agata Wisniewski
- Instagram – Agata Wisniewski
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