Joan Witek

“Black is usually considered the absence of colour: it is severe and rigorous but this is only two facets of its many qualities. One of the reasons I am attracted to black is indeed its dichotomies. It is sophisticated and primitive, emotional and intellectual, it is a colour that everyone responds strongly to, in one way or another.” – Joan Witek.

Joan Witek’s work has always been involved with the colour black: whether in oil paint, water colour or pencil, Witek’s works concentrate on specific materiality and formalist content, which she twists by adding a linguistic domain using titles from various sources.
The unity of Witek’s body of work is defined not through a signature style but through ways of picture making that permit the works to look very different, and yet all are immediately recognizable.
Although black can be associated with negative ideas and expressions, it occupies a wide range. Witek’s large paintings, as well as her small drawings imply a sense of emotional intimacy. The colour is strong and delicate, rational and emotional. Her paintings are defined by radical condensation and Witek’s potentially infinite suggestiveness is accomplished using deliberately limited means. For example, the expression of a black watercolor on delicate, wrinkled rice paper or a black painting made of repeated brush strokes; all create a meaning and intensity for the viewer.
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