Portrait – Halina Trela – 2008
200 x 200 cm, Oil on board (Rembrandt p), oil-resin + retouching varnish
Halina Trela born in 1980 in Kielce. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw at the Faculty of Painting and Sculpture. She defended her diploma thesis in 2008 in the studio of prof. P. Błażejewski and prof. P. Pintal. He currently lives and works in Wrocław.
The artist’s hallmark are large-format black and white representations of old people’s faces drawn in charcoal on paper, which resemble photographs. The mysterious faces looking at the viewer hide the truth about the inevitability of the passage of time and transience – a law against which no one remains indifferent. It can be said that the drawings undergo the same processes as in life: they are unstable, flake off and can be easily destroyed. Trela uses this fact in her works, intentionally showing the fragility and sensitivity to the transience of the drawing matter itself. Fascinated by the human face, the artist always chooses a portrait as the theme of her work. I also use inherently large formats that overwhelm the recipient. The author’s goal is to give the impression that the image is viewed by the viewer, not the other way around. Trela finds his models in countless Internet resources – where duration is endless. Taken out of their current framework, they gain a new identity for these faces and, according to the artist’s intention, they are to appear again in the network in a new context.
Trela’s drawing portraits are defragmented. Therefore, they force the eye to search for missing elements, and thus to recreate in the imagination those parts that cannot be seen. The artist also paints pictures that are like the opposite of a drawing: always whole faces, inscribed in a square, painted with oil paint on canvas, carefully protected with varnish. More resistant to damage than a drawing, from the point of view of the processes taking place in it are “dead”. But for the author, painting is not like that. They can (according to her), thanks to centuries of tradition and due to the finality of work, be used as a definition of death. The painted image is an unchanging fact, accomplished, inscribed in one of the ideal figures. The purpose of Trela’s creative search is to guess how such a work finished by the artist continues to work. The painter does not want her to “live her own life” but to function – so she examines his condition through her installations. These are images wrapped in bubble wrap, thus gaining product status. Of all her works, the author considers the installations to be the most personal. Her work is a multi-threaded commentary on reality, but they are not complementary to each other. They can be received together or individually, and in both cases their message remains legible.