London-based Gabriella Kosa explores the relationship between mankind and nature. Within her works, the small squares and geometric forms represent desire for control: how mankind wants to control its environment and surrounding nature.
A: How have your past experiences led you to pursue a career as an artist; why do you think these experiences are important in shaping an identity and a process?
GK: Everything that I went through in my life added a different colour or layer to my personality. However I like to believe I am responsible for my experiences; be it consciously or unconsciously, I create or attract them. This interaction between the events in my life and my reaction to them, shaped me into the person I am now. Becoming an artist hasn’t been a linear path for me though … but almost full circle, arriving back at my roots; or better yet, a spiral. Arriving back to the starting point with more maturity and a higher level of understanding. Art was always present in my life even from a very early age; I often spent my summer holidays helping my mother in her ceramic workroom, so creativity was almost nurtured in me. Even after pursuing other career paths for years I don’t feel it stopped my creative flow, in fact just the opposite. They added something extra to my work and I believe authenticity comes from accepting ourselves, accepting our past and embracing the layers that make us who we are.
A: In a world where funding cuts are increasing and the value of art is constantly under scrutiny, why is that you’ve chosen this career path after having pursued many other routes?
GK: Growth and progression have always been two important values for me. After many years in the Fitness industry and as a Hypnotherapist where I expressed myself with movement and language, I then felt the urge to express myself through a different channel. So I decided to revert back to a path that I first pursued in High School, when I specialised in art. This was followed by two years at a jewellery / enamel design school. The decision to take this new path was not as logical as it was intuitive. So let`s say I felt I didn’t have a choice! Something wanted to be born and I needed to create space for it … it was an inevitable and natural step.
A: Why do you think that humans need ways to express themselves, and, specifically, why through painting?
GK: Precious ideas or emotions lose their value if not shared with others and humans are social creatures after all. For some practitioners, expression is a personal relief of sorts, therapeutic even; for others, it may be an urge to evoke a reaction or inspiration within others. Either way this desire for expression can be forceful and it feels impossible to repress it. When we communicate with language we tend to use a surface structure, yet there is a deeper meaning and understanding that the speaker has but this doesn’t necessarily reach the listener. The same words can mean different things to different people. Art and visual representation is amongst our most ancient tools for expression and allows us to convey emotions, mood and messages in a way words cannot always do so.
A: How do you think representational painting has developed through the centuries and how is it still relevant in the contemporary industry?
GK: Representational art has been around since the dawn of mankind, such as those that can be found on cave walls. Abstraction only just developed in the 20th century. Even though abstract and conceptual art is thriving in our times, many people find comfort and a sense of ease when looking at representational techniques, because it is familiar and recognisable and therefore makes art more accessible for casual audiences. I believe there will always be a demand and interest for both methods, simply because people are different and have a different definition of beauty. Some of us might have a dominant left brain and gravitate towards rational, realistic representations whereas others enjoy the right hemisphere`s imaginative and abstract thinking and messages. I personally enjoy bringing elements from both sides into my work.
A: Where do you find your inspiration?
GK: I particularly like exploring the relationships and dynamics between subjects, as opposed to paint single objects. My main interest at the moment is the relationship between mankind and the environment, nature, animals and their symbolic messages, throughout different eras up until our modern era. It is the connection and dynamics that I am mostly interested in and the affects that humans and nature has on one another. Many times, I have a preconceived idea what I am going to paint, but as soon as I sit down, my intuition takes over and I just let my unconscious mind guide me.
A: Why is invoking a sense of texture important to you? Do you think it has figurative connotations as well as formal aesthetics?
GK: The evolution of self. As humans evolve through multiple developmental stages throughout their lifetimes, similarly paintings are developed by the multiple layers we apply, bringing them to life and giving them each a unique personality. I think my fascination with these layers and the use of texture sources inspiration from my Hypnotherapy practice, I am fascinated with the architecture of the human mind and the layers that make up our individual personalities as well as our societies.
A: What is the importance of nature to you?
GK: I believe that us as humans and nature should not be separated. Unfortunately living in the 21st century within a busy city environment doesn’t help us to stay connected to nature, leading us further away from our roots further away from harmony and balance. With my paintings, I aim to bring this connection into awareness and emphasise the importance of developing this fragile relationship. I am sure we have all experienced peace and harmony when sitting in a park or hiking. I believe nurturing this connection is essential for inner peace and happiness as it also strengthens one’s ability to turn within and connect with our true self.
A: Do your works combat a sense of over-digitalisation?
GK: I don’t ignore or disregard the benefits that technological advancement of our modern world has granted us. I appreciate it; my aim is rather to help bring together the old and the new world and to find balance and harmony even in our hectic 21st century lifestyles. There are many things we can learn from ancient tribes and native civilisations.
1. Gabriella Kosa, Abundance 1. Courtesy of the artist.
2. Gabriella Kosa, Abundance 2. Courtesy of the artist.