In the Studio with Agnieszka Koziarz – curious arts

Agnieszka Koziarz in her sculpting space

An MFA sculptor in her creative space

What draws you to sculpture as a medium?

I am drawn to three-dimensional figurative or abstract forms by their depth and movement.  Creating sculpture allows me to use my hands to transform things and work spatially, using and expressing my sensitivity of touch. I love working with form and creating a space through which I can enter visually.

Metal sculpture by Agnieszka Koziarz

How do you come up with your ideas for the shapes and sizes that will go into your sculptures?

After working with medium, geometric steel sculptures during my undergraduate studies, I wanted to challenge myself by making larger sculptures with steel organic forms and materials, such as pipes from scrap yards that I could modify, manipulate and shape by cutting, carving, welding and resurfacing. I moved away from using two-dimensional circular forms in my earlier work towards volumetric forms which I integrated to create movement.Cropped in image of a sculpture by Agnieszka Koziarz

Over the course of my grad studies, I varied the scale of my sculptures, moving between vertical closed compositions to those that were more horizontal and open. Shifting my focus from larger to small-scale sculptures provided me with a more intimate connection as they could be felt and seen more clearly than the larger pieces. I cut small sections that interested me from large pieces of steel and limited myself to working within three dimensions of a cube while maintaining an open composition. To suggest both the strength and vulnerability inherent in the process of personal transformation, I alternately maintained and obstructed movement by using strong curved elements and volumetric forms. These decisions were informed by my original intent to create sculptures that resisted becoming objects.

How long does it take to finish a sculpture like the ones in The Presence of Absence

It varies, depending on many factors, such as on my ability to find or create the “right” piece or element I need. I usually complete a sculpture within one to three months, and sometimes up to a year, depending on the scale. I usually work on two sculptures at the same time—three if they are small.

What is the first thing you do to set up each day when you get to your studio?

Agnieszka Koziarz with welding equipmentEach day I:
1. Change from my regular clothes to work clothes and steel-toed boots.
2. Walk to my studio and open the door to let fresh air in.
3. Turn on the equipment I need and prepare power tools that I want to use i.e.,-grinders/torch, hammers, welder, air pressure tools.
4. Make sure I have plenty of water to drink to keep hydrated.
5. Make a list of things to do that I had thought about beforehand.
6. Turn on my stereo and play my collection of eclectic music that includes everything from classical composers, such as Chopin and Preisner, to jazz to popular music and instrumental.

To rest from the physically demanding task of constructing steel sculptures I also take breaks. On my breaks I usually read and look at images sitting in my chair in my reading room. Sometimes, I write. I work, on average, about 8-10 hours a day.

In your studio and reading room, what are the objects we would see?

Agnieszka Koziarz welding in her space

In my studio:

• helmets, grinders, welder, torch
• different types of hammers for forging
• wire brushes for cleaning steel
• ferric nitrate

In my reading room:

• acrylic paint
• paint brushes
• sketchbook with drawings
• on the walls, my art work, including an abstract mixed media painting and a watercolor painting of my city to connect to “home”, and my poetry, and the quote “Omnia mea mecum porto” for inspiration.

Agnieszka Koziarz in her reading room

The Presence of Absence is open to the public until October 25th, 2014 in the University of Alberta’s Fine Arts Building Gallery.

Event title: The Presence of Absence by Agnieszka Koziarz, MFA sculpting final visual presentation
Exhibition dates: until October 25, 2014
Venue: FAB Gallery (1-1 Fine Arts Building, University of Alberta)
FAB Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Sunday, Monday and statutory holidays
Admission: Free.

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