Over the last two decades Jennifer Hornyak’s focus has been, almost exclusively, an expressive exploration of the still life genre. We immediately recognize the signature mark making, rich colour harmonies, a raw and passionate painterliness that distills, in ever-recombinant forms, the lyrical and fleeting quality of her subject. The figurative works represent not so much a new foray as a circling back but a retrieval of a theme she explored earlier, throughout the 80s. The recent paintings reveal the artist in her prime, wielding paint and vision towards unsettling truths about the human condition but, more precisely and more personally, towards the definition of a self realized through the act of painting and the material of paint itself.
Hornyak speaks of wanting to capture a certain “pathos and frailty which exists in the human condition.” Indeed, the works speak of a profound sense of human solitude, as figures wander through parks and public spaces, disconnected witnesses isolated by their interiority. In the small portraits Hornyak renders isolated faces against monochromatic backgrounds in thick viscous layers of paint. Indeed, the profound emotional impact of the works emerge from the fertile meeting of conflicting impulses: the painterly desire to let paint itself convey meaning – Hornyak strives for increasing abstraction in her work – and the refusal to abandon the burden of the image – the human form. The artist successfully creates a liminal space between figuration and abstraction where poetic meaning and optic pleasure resonate.
Jennifer Hornyak was born in England where she studied at the Grimsby School of Art before coming to Canada. Over the last forty years, she has enjoyed an extensive exhibition career in both Europe and North America. Her work can be found in both private and public collections.
About Jennifer Hornyak
Canadian, England, United Kingdom, based in Montreal, QC, Canada