Elzbieta was born in Krakow and raised in Poland and the Middle East. She is now based in Toronto.
Her exposure to different cultures gave her an appreciation for travel, and by moving to Canada to attend the Ontario College of Art and Design, she developed a love for the Canadian landscape. This background is strongly reflected in her work as an oil painter.
Perhaps as a natural response to the vastness of the North American continent, coupled with the vacuity of the Kuwaiti desert, her paintings depict large areas of open spaces, such as skies or water, defined by pattern formations.
Within these paintings, movement and space pose a question that pertains to entering a work where place and time are undefined. What is required is something personal: a thought, a colour, an ephemeral quality of sunlight, a timeless sky as a universal space of collective memory.
With their low horizon lines, sculpted cloud formations, and chiaroscuro lighting, Elzbieta’s swelling skyscapes recall the compositional techniques reminiscent of Van Ruisdael’s View of Haarlem from the Dunes at Oveveen (1670). Continuing the tradition of seventeenth-century Dutch landscape paintings, where the sky or water fills almost three-quarters of the picture space, Elzbieta’s take on the landscape is further touched by the quality of her contemporaneity and nostalgia for Turner’s subtle treatment of light and space, Caravaggio’s dramatic use of tenebrism, Monet’s organization of tone and pattern, and the forceful energy of nineteenth-century Polish painters like Chelmonski, Gierymski, and Kotsis.
Elzbieta’s paintings depict large open spaces, such as skies and surfaces, defined by pattern formations that seem to always be on the brink of change.
Her skyscapes are an ongoing exploration of the nature of light and its potential to describe space in terms of movement. In her approach to the ever-changing subject matter of landscape, Elzbieta strives to capture the constant movement of the skies and of light itself, which results in an atmospheric blurring of boundaries between masses of land, bodies of water, and the sky—between solid and void, matter and light.
At times, seeping with the rich hues of a sublime sunset or the brooding darkness of an impending storm, the paintings are at once inviting and ominous to the viewer. Despite the variance among Elzbieta’s skyscapes, the ultimate thesis underlying her series is the ubiquitous nature of the sky. This is to say, the sky refers to a universal space of collective, rather than individual, memory.