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Creative Paddington: Izabela Pluta

By Lola Pinder


Izabela Pluta is a Sydney-based, Polish born, photo media and installation artist. Her work has been exhibited widely across Australia.

Pluta’s photographic practice documents scenes that evoke a longing for place. Her works may be seen as a reflection upon contemporary global social interaction, wherein the physicality of place, the geography of people, and the connection to landscape, is wholly removed from experience. The natural environment becomes merely a ‘setting’ in our psyche -- seen in movies, imagined in a conversation, or set as a computer desktop background.

Her imagery explores how industry and urbanisation have shifted our experience of place. Her work questions notions of permanence and belonging, documenting echoes of the familiar and traces of lived experience in an environment.  In this way, Pluta addresses how place relates to identity, memory, and nostalgia.

In her latest exhibition Excavations at the Dianne Tanzer Gallery in February this year, Pluta included a diptych work titled Collapse. The image depicts a roof structure, stable but crumbling. The play with movement and stasis in the work and title reflects a philosophy of memory and the ephemeral present in Pluta's practice. She employs the photographic medium in order to arrest varying states of decay in the landscape. 

Another of Pluta's striking series, Study for a Sham Ruin, 2012, pairs identical mirror images. The object of the image; a primordial-looking tree, or an historical ruin, is shown in straight, documentary style, and is covered by white acrylic paint in the mirror image. The materiality of the acrylic paint, and the physical act of covering the scene suggest a capturing of a temporal and spatial moment; of arresting recollection and reality.

In 2006 Pluta received the Australia Council for the Arts Studio residency in Barcelona. In 2008 she won a Freedman Foundation Traveling Scholarship for Emerging Artists and she received an Australia Council New Work Grant. In 2010 she received the Qantas Foundation Contemporary Art Award (NSW). In 2012 Pluta was shortlisted for Artists-of-the-year-in-review at the Scope Art Show in New York. Pluta has also completed several residencies, including, in 2008, receiving an Ian Potter Cultural Grant for a residency at the Cité des Arts International in Paris, and she completed a UK Academic Research Exchange at the Art and Design Research Institute in 2011.

Pluta has been invited to participate in the Mildura Palimpsest Biennale #10- Everywhere All at Once …Here, curated by Jonathan Kimberley & Helen Vivian, in October this year. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of Wollongong.

Pluta has a Masters of Fine Arts from UNSWA+D and currently lectures in Photomedia at the university.

Pluta is represented by Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects, Melbourne.

This post is part of the Art Month Event Creative Paddington taking place on March 7th in conjunction with Metro Screen and UNSW Art & Design.




Image 1: Collapse, 2015, pigment print on photo rag. © Izabela Pluta

Images 2 & 3: Study for Sham Ruin #3 & #4, Pigment print. 

© Izabela Pluta