The Drawers - Tina Poplawski  Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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There is more to this than meets the eye. That is, the art, the practice and the process for Tina Poplawski's imagery are prepared long before brush touches paper. The generation of the image begins in the wetlands.

The natural leaves, much like a water lily, vulnerable and extracted from their watery homes, quickly turn color and die. Tina collected leaves from her country habitat and carried them back to her Toronto studio in large Tupperware containers of water. Still, despite her coddling, they were shocked and changed. Poplawski's effect upon them has already been put into process. Her photographing the leaves passes them through another stage of transformation; with the willful act of freezing their existence in time. Then there is the culling, the digital manipulations and the choice of format and composition. Tina goes for a simple, dramatic memorable showcase of leafy individuality. Now, her hand comes into play with the combination of her natural talent and the nurturing that she has exposed her ability to; Tina Poplawski is a very good watercolorist. We marvel at her technique and are further impressed by the visual phenomena.

Quantity reinforces the impact. There were originally twenty leaves (with their colors now restored to vitality by water) which were presented on their twenty pristine white 'leaves' of paper.

Once established as unique objects and divorced from their habitat, the images grow once again, this time with associative properties. The trail of nibbles that the bugs left as they ate their meandering pathways through the leaves, can be compared to electrical, technological, digital or mathematical systems or programs. As formal shapes, each leaf glows like a semi-precious stone as it lies on its delicate shadow. Since being exposed to Tina Poplawski's artfulness, the humble wet leaves overshadowed their origins and became works of art.


Copyright 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers