Before we begin, let’s get this out of the way: Aleksandra Waliszewska’s art is not for everyone. However, if you’re partial to a dose of the genuinely disturbing then it’s more than worth a look. Her paintings radiate the most menacing kind of Gothic gloom, and are full of religious and occult symbolism, mythological creatures, and fluffy white cats with evil glints in their eyes. If this sounds appealing, then read on, brave soul…
Waliszewska’s style is deceptively simple, and consists of either dark, dense oils or eloquent monochrome linework. In atmosphere if not strictly in appearance, her works recall the likes of Goya, Breugel, and Bosch. However, this prolific Polish artist’s paintings give the unsettling impression that her brush strokes are not merely applying strokes of dismal colour, but instead are forming a thinly-stretched membrane between her world and ours. Now there’s a Gothic concept if ever there was one. And be thankful that the bubble holds, as it’s all that stands between us and a desolate, horror-haunted place.
In the world that Waliszewska reveals, claustrophobic subterranean spaces and forests thick with darkness teem with pale flesh being disembowelled, sacrificed, mauled by animals or otherwise mutilated in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. However, amidst all of this bleeding body horror there’s also some light relief, in the form of Edward Gorey-esque absurdity, such as a wombat out for a stroll. Phew. But, as with all the best horror, it is suggestion that is most effective in Waliszewska’s work: the stolen glimpses we are offered into some truly bizarre and enigmatic scenes. And after all, as HP Lovecraft (the master of literary horror) said, “The basis of all true cosmic horror is violation of the order of nature, and the profoundest violations are always the least concrete and describable.”
Peer from between the gaps in your shaking fingers at more of Aleksandra’s work over at her blog or her Facebook page. A collection of her work has recently released in a double-volume art book, Problem & Solution.