Linden EXTRA with

Natasha Bieniek

We recently caught up with Natasha in her studio to find out more about her practice and the work she has been making recently. 

My recent series, Mirror Paintings, pairs intricate landscape paintings with glossy, reflective surfaces. These artworks are sleek in appearance which underscores my interest in present-day image trends. As a culture, we are obsessed with recording and documenting our surroundings. Our phones have become an extension of ourselves and as a result, we often experience our environment through screens. If we don’t truly absorb our surroundings, I wonder how this will impact on real experience? Mirror Paintings explores my ongoing interest in the relationship between people and nature within an urban context.

The landscapes featured in my artwork depict inner-city sanctuaries that coexist with busy cities. These green spaces provide a sense of respite and tranquillity amid such frenetic conditions.

My aim is to reflect this dual relationship, through both my artwork’s physical appearance and chosen materials. I’ve painted directly onto dibond (a product usually used for architectural and industrial purposes) to impose a human-made quality within my artwork. The dibond’s luminous reflections coincide with finely painted details, bringing motion, movement and life into an otherwise stagnant two-dimensional form. These artworks shift and change with their surroundings and the viewer inevitably becomes integrated into the composition.

I’m interested in building a tension that forces the viewer to reflect upon both themselves and my painting’s subject matter.

The scale of my artwork is also inspired by the ancient tradition of miniature painting which became significant in England and France during the 16th Century. Such small dimensions aim to draw the viewer in and experience the subject matter intimately. Although my paintings are small in size, they are detail dense, which is indicative of the landscapes I have depicted. For me, these pockets of nature remain the most sensory-stimulating and intricate environments that people ever encounter and my paintings aim to highlight this.

All artworks in this exhibition are painted on mirrored Dibond, which is a product usually used for industrial and architectural purposes. It’s strong and archival, however, it’s rarely used as a base for oil painting. I’m very interested in the duality between this product and the buttery nature of oil paint.

Although my work is traditional in technique, I have a strong correlation with modern working methods.

I was quite an arty and creative child. I think creativity is born out of curiosity and kids are curious creatures. I was enrolled in private art lessons outside of the normal school curriculum from the age of 14 years old. I had a thirst to learn about painting from quite a young age. I also had an easel set up in my bedroom at that time. I’d sleep in close proximity to an open can of turps and oil paints. I didn’t really consider my health at that point! I think I knew I wanted to be a painter from adolescence, but I didn’t think it would be a possible career option until many years later.

Photographs: Theresa Harrison Photography
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By Dr Marion Piper's essay. 

At various times throughout the day my hands and feet tingle. Nothing life threatening or anything, but noticeable enough to stop me in my tracks. It’s a sensation that runs along the surface of my skin...
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Natasha Bieniek

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On Holidays at LINDEN

Art activities for children
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Linden Contemporaries

Member's visit to Ash Keating's studio 
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our volunteers

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What's coming
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Design Fringe

4 September > 21 November 2021

This year, the Melbourne Fringe Festival will launch 
Design Fringe, a program that evolves the 34-year history of Fringe Furniture to create a stunning new design exhibition and events program to reach design loving audiences across Melbourne. We are thrilled to be hosting the first Design Fringe exhibition, which will be on display across all of our gallery spaces.
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Linden Postcard
Show 2020-21

4 December 2021 > 27 February 2022 

The iconic Linden Postcard Show will return for its 31st year. With over 1,000 mini masterpieces to see - every work measuring exactly 8 x 10” - this exhibition will include work by artists at all stages of their career, from across Australia.    

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