Bad Habits, Good intentions
A solo exhibition by Katarina Janeckova (1988, SK)
The paintings of Katarina Janeckova constantly move between a romantic, playful and uncomfortable image. Often she depicts women, self-portraits because, as described by herself she knows her own face and features best. The depicted figure is seductive and sweet, but simultaneously impersonates dominant yet sometimes even physically strong women.
The figure is often in company of a bear, a bear that could be a teddy bear, but as well a grizzly bear instead. Within that setting the female figure seems comfortable and at ease, as if there is no such thing as the perverted gaze.
Janeckova pushes against the expected, and translate this in her work. Once the artist was one of the best wakeboarders in the world, and more recently she got fascinated by the world of female bodybuilding, seeing women in her local gym being obsessed with squatting and biceps. In these Rubens-shaped women she found an ideal model for the duality of femininity she wanted to express in her work. To paint them better, she joined them in their mission and competed herself for a while.
During the recent period of quarantine the artist gained more interest in the idea of painting as a manner of escapism; " about (me) learning how to embrace the mistakes we do, about letting go of the ego and turning any discomfort into a learning process."
A way to escape role patterns between men and women, the ego, Puritan America, small talk, and to underline the cultural differences between Europe and the US, in order to get closer to her own fantasy and reality. In her own words put as: "...about the (cultural and social) differences I am trying to accept after moving from Europe to Texas, rebelling against some of the “unwritten” rules that I stubbornly try to close my eyes in front of and creating my own rules in the parallel world I like to fantasize about. I am thinking of the fine line between the importance of maintaining the authentic self vs. being mindful to the others and also about the favorite American small talk question “How are you? Fine and you?” without expecting an honest answer, letting the conversations glide on the surface and creating an illusion of the perfect world." A bad habit, with most likely good intentions.
Janeckova completed her master’s at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in 2013. She has shown actively since 2010, amongst her latest exhibitions was "Paint, Also Known As Blood", Museum of Modern Art, Warschau, Polen (2019).