Joanna Ciechanowska



Artist statement

I work predominantly in oils and pastels, sometimes using collage and cut outs from photographs, my own or others. The starting point is often an idea provoked by situation that causes controversy, an argument or creates two opposite points of view. I try to transform this imbalance into visual image that provokes similar reaction in a viewer without taking either side of an argument, but rather bringing the two sides as close to each other as possible, in a visual sense. This translates as trying to blur the border between the real and abstract, trying to create an image that is neither happy nor threatening but one that causes the viewer to feel uncertain, unsure what he is looking at, therefore evoking reaction similar to the starting point which could be a political controversy, a religious tension, or a threat of an environmental catastrophe. The images used are often accidental, and on the opposite spectrum, it is their proximity when they are brought together that I am trying to use, to create tension, restlessness and therefore provoke even more dispute about the original argument. Sometimes, though it is only a surface excitement of paint on paper or canvas, but still provoking the viewer to have a second look hopefully discovering a part of a painting he hasn’t noticed at first.
What interests me is an image in disguise.

Joanna Ciechanowska – 2011.



Joanna Ciechanowska is a graduate of Academy of Fine Arts – ASP, Poland 1978 (MA – studio of Prof. Leszek Holdanowicz).
After years spent living and working in Middle East, Africa and Far East, she is now based in London.
She worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for clients such as; Asda, Barclays Bank, British Telecom, CBS Records, IBM, London Transport Advertising, Pan Books, Lock Pettersen and Partners, Radio Times, Times Magazine, Oxford University Press, The London Experiment, at the same time taking part in various fine art exhibitions. A visiting lecturer at Bucks University College, 2002 – 2004, and a part time art teacher at Ashton House School, Isleworth. A member of APA and, for the last two years a director of POSK Gallery in Polish Social & Cultural Association, London. Recently received an honorary jury award at the VI International Biennale of Painting in Gdynia, Poland 2011.

Recent and some selected exhibitions:

ROYAL ACADEMY of ARTS , London, Piccadilly – Summer Exhibition 2012

‘Flux, Flow, Flight: Art in Motion’ – Orleans House Gallery, London Oct 2011 – Jan 2012.

UNIT 24 – ‘Format 6 Collective’ – 2011

VI International Biennale of Painting and Unique Tapestry – Gdynia, Poland 2011 ¬– (Honorary Jury Award).

‘Black & White’ – POSK Gallery, Sept 2011.
‘Spring Exhibition – APA’ – May 2011
‘Four Corners of the World’ – The Rickshaw House Gallery, Dec 2010.
‘Chopin’ – APA, POSK Gallery 2010.
‘page 6’ – POSK Gallery 2009.
‘Masks & Memories’ – TEST Gallery, Warsaw, 2000.
‘Open Show’ – Hong Kong, 1996.
‘Ravensdale ‘ – group show, Dean St London, 1988
‘Whitechapel Open’ – Whitechapel Gallery – curated by Nicolas Serota, London, 1987.
‘De’Isle’ – group show, London 1987.
‘Time’ – B&H Gold Awards, Hamiltons Gallery, London 1987.
European Illustration D&AD Awards, London, Paris, New York, Stockholm – exhibition of selected illustrations, 1986 and 1985.
Regular, twice yearly shows with APA – Association of Polish Artists in GB.