Have you ever had that waking nightmare where you look around your apartment with your five cats and think…if I were to die right now, these felines will probably eat me before anyone realized anything was wrong? No? Me either. I can tell Pola Dwurnik has had that exact thought though, from what’s going on in her painting Coffee and Steel (No More of those Beautiful Boys).
With a color palette of cold, muted blacks, grays, whites and browns, Dwurnik paints a woman laying (hopefully just asleep) lifelessly on the ground while dozens of cats literally rain down on her only to begin sniffing, smelling and laying on and around her. It’s unsettling and bizarre and you’re definitely left with more questions than answers.
Other paintings of Dwurnik also play on this sinister animal theme. In All This, Always, the scene is strange and scary: a woman sits alone at a desk in front of a laptop – again, in gray scale – but surrounded by larger than life parrots looming over her as she works. The parrots ostentatiously bright coloring set against the dark colors of the woman give them an even more frightening power. Their beady eyes and scowling expressions speak of imminent danger for the unsuspecting woman. It’s a surreal and unbelievable scene but Dwurnik still manages to create a real sense of danger in the viewer.
Most – though not all – of Dwurnik’s work from this Main Series play on this unsettling human/animal relationship. Others still explore human sexuality, politics and identity. No matter the subject, though, Dwurnik aims to shock and throw off-balance her viewers.