Artist Nikola Wojewoda takes viewers on a spiritual and creative journey at her upcoming exhibit at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre. Exaltation: Intangible Journeys of the Human Spirit opens at the Pumphouse on October 1 and runs through November 1, with a free reception taking place October 3 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. All are welcome.
The exhibit showcases three related series of work: paper collages resembling stained glass windows that show female Shamans called The Dharma Queens, figurative clay and mixed media sculptures she calls Spirit Jars, and ceramic plates depicting sacred plants.
“The individual must learn to live by his or her own myth” -- Joseph Campell
I`m drawn to stories, to the symbols and metaphors where `layered meaning` lies. I am inspired by myths, legends and folklore from around the world; a rich source from which to explore the human condition. In these stories I find psychological, spiritual and social dimensions expressed in poetic form. Archetypes are my starting point. I integrate, manipulate, and reinterpret these universal symbols in order to create personal imagery that examines spiritual, political and cultural ideas.
I invite the viewer to consider their own interpretation, to add their own layer of meaning.
I have long been fascinated by the phenomenon of ‘altered states of consciousness’ and the relationship to self-awareness, creativity, and healing. What do Saints and Shamans actually experience in religious ecstasy or ritual trance? Why are we compelled to seek out the sacred? How does this need express itself in modern society? These artworks are focal points for meditations on these questions.
The exhibition combines three related series in collage, sculpture, and ceramics.
The Dharma Queens
The collages are icons, fictional female Shamans. Each figure represents a psychological trait that limits our ability to be fully conscious and self-aware. Each has transcended the limitation she embodies, and is haloed in the global tradition of an enlightened person.
The Spirit Jars
Each sculpture is a ‘Spirit Ally’ that corresponds to a Queen – their symbolism is linked. They are vessels, capable of holding what needs to be protected, or containing that which needs to be subdued.
The Herbarium of Hallucinogens
The ceramic illustrations are of psychoactive plants from around the globe. Their culturally sanctioned ritual use can produce insights into the nature of reality. They are revered for their power to transport the mind into other forms of consciousness.
Nikola Wojewoda is a contemporary artist of Russian and Polish descent. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1981.
A diverse artist, she has worked and exhibited in a variety of fine art mediums. In addition to drawing, painting and printmaking, she has shown sculptural works in bronze, stone, plaster, mixed media assemblage, and installation. She’s made experimental short films, which have been shown in North America and Europe, and she has designed sets for dance and theatre companies in Toronto and Hamilton.
Her work can be found in private and corporate collections, including the Canada Council Art Bank. Her art has been written about in a variety of publications such as C Magazine, the Globe and Mail and the Hamilton Spectator. She has taught painting and sculpture in Continuing Education programs through the Toronto Board of Education.
Nikola is an active member of the Art Gallery of Burlington, three Arts Burlington Guilds; Fine Arts, Sculptors, and Potters, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton Artists Inc., Women’s Art Association of Hamilton, and the Central Ontario Arts Association.
The recipient of several Ontario Arts Council Grants, she has also recently received the Agnes Tassie Award for Sculpture (DVSA) the Jeanette Edwards Award for Ceramics (Burlington Potters Guild), and the Alice Peck Award for Fine Art (Burlington Fine Arts Guild), as well as best in show acknowledgements in various juried exhibitions.
In her current practice she has expanded the materials she works with and is now exploring ceramic illustration, mixed media sculpture, a hybrid of collage and paper cutting, and various printmaking techniques.