Paulina Olowska’s exhibition at Simon Lee Gallery, London, constitutes the latest chapter in the artist’s continuous and fertile research into image-making, exploring the ways in which she interprets painting as a vehicle for her idiosyncratic visions and as a facilitator for the exchange of feelings and sensations with the viewer. Spanning the gallery’s three floors, Destroyed Woman puts forward a visual and emotional landscape through which to contemplate the self and the other, provoking our consideration of themes such as womanhood, ageing, the power of tradition and the spectator’s gaze. With this exhibition Olowska invites us to thoroughly re-contemplate representations of women, particularly within an art historical context, and to redefine the purpose of their portraiture; how, she asks, can we reformulate tradition to encompass what has been destroyed and what needs to be invented?
In Olowska’s latest series of paintings female figures are captured posing, working or acting in diverse backgrounds. For the most part they are represented alone, engrossed in their own thoughts or activities. They watch us, watching them, all of us absorbed in both past and future.