The most frequent painting subjectof the academy-trained painter Sonja Brzak is a human figure. The painter is devoted to depicting one or more human figures that she connects and blends into one unbreakable unity. Her work consists mostly of paintings that seem abstract at first sight and are composed of many sharp-edged shapes in clean and dominant colours red and blue. However, only few paintings are completely undefined in terms of their theme and they distance themselves from the subject with their geometric abstraction. The painter sometimes experiments with automatism and uncontrolled bodily movements, and she softens or “liberates” the sharpness and hardness of geometric motifs by dripping light or dark colours on colourful canvases, and by doing so, she creates a swirling composition of small and large marks. Her most suggestive work is without doubt related to depiction of human figures that she stylizes and transforms into abstract forms. Recognisability of motifs is not treated the same in all her work; it varies from one painting to another, and the shape of the human body is gradually “dissolved” beyond recognition. Therefore, in some of the paintings human figures are, although fragmented in many shapes, clearly drawn and emphasized by colour and lines, and the observer can easily distinguish body parts. Other paintings show a shift towards stronger stylization marked by the loss of body lines in a complex grid of lines, and the vagueness and connection between shapes are made stronger by an identical set of colours used for depicting figures. In the end, the gradation of stylization leads to abstract composition of shapes, and only painted stylized heads may point to the fact that the subject of the painting is a depiction of body.Sonja Brzak often comes back to figurative painting and to realism, by painting a series of idealized portraits of pretty, young women, more precisely their heads in (if we use the parameter of a movie shot) close-up. The focus is on the faces that take up all the canvas surface and often go “outside” of the frames, whichemphasizes their size. Eyes that are framed with black and rough make-up dominate their faces. Colours used are reduced to ochre and brown tones with a few accents of blue or dimmed red. We can also notice realism in paintings containing nude women, in which the colours used show the painter’s split tendency towards, on the one side, strong and vividcolours, and on the other, towards subtle shades of tonal painting. Paintings are enriched with pastel, soft tones and offer to the observer a harmoniouscolour game full of vivacity. Colours are applied with broad brushstrokes, reflecting the painter’s passion and pleasure in relation to the act of painting itself, to the materiality of pigment and to the beauty of its colours.Free of restrictive dark lines that we find in most of the work, they mix and connect freely, thus creating scales and relations of colours pleasing to the eye. The coloursused are exactly what promises interesting solutions to some of the new ways of expression in painting.
After graduating, Sonja Brzak is actively involved in online sales / on-line galleries, auctions / and two years back selling her paintings. Several group exhibitions involving oil paintings in Zagreb and Sveta Nedjelja / Croatia /, and an independent exhibition of oil and paintings. For twenty years she has been actively involved in the design and decoration of artistic ceramics of a recognizable style. She teaches at her atelier courses in art ceramics and work at the potters' wheel. Regular exhibitions of art ceramics are also held. 2018, "MEMENTO", Sveta Nedelja, Croatia / art ceramics, oil and acrylic on canvas 2018, ARTBOX Project, New York, oil on canvas.
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