Recently I visited Ramona Zoladek’s exhibition at Gallery North, Northumbria University. I was instantly captivated by her use of materials. Her blend of the organic and man made was just absolutely beautiful. Her work fixates on the relationships between nature, architecture and objects and these themes are highly evident throughout the entirety of this exhibition. There is a strong sense of fragility throughout most of her sculptures, particularly in the concrete units which look as if they on the verge of collapse at any minute! Yet they simultaneously have this sense of strength, it may have been the height and their dimensions, but despite the crumbling ruins they seemed impressively stable. The way in which they had been laid out was very dynamic, almost like a satisfying jigsaw. The lighting was incredibly effective as well, as beautiful long shadows were cast across the gallery floor. Zoladek had used the floor as a space as well which I loved as the dialogue created between the differing heights added an entirely new dimension to the exhibition. She had even allowed dirt and dust to cascade onto the floor which was so effective given its organic quality.
The blend of concrete and plant was almost ethereal with the sparse white against the vibrant green. This was where Zoladek’s exploration of decay really came across. You felt almost as if you were watching the process; almost as if the ruin was pulsating and collapsing in on itself. I felt very tranquil as I studied these columns. I felt almost as if I could be transported to a Scottish island stood in a field of greenery looking at ancient ruins battered by the rain. I felt time was heavily present throughout this exhibition and of course that is another major theme in Zoladek’s work.
Zoledek’s themes are intricately woven throughout her work and they come across in a beautifully subtle manner, yet they are highly evident. However, there’s also a simplicity and a minimalism to Zoladek’s creations as well. Her arrangement of her pieces, her use of the floor and the wall. You don’t feel overwhelmed by it all despite the fact there is a lot going on. I think this is a very important element. It’s almost as if the layout and the colour schemes have created a kind of energy. By navigating the space you are participating and responding to this sense of energy. That was how I felt at least, which was why I chose not to watch the film around the corner. I felt it was not relevant to my interpretation of this exhibition. It was almost as if it would be an interference. Maybe I should have watched it. Maybe it would have entirely transformed how I thought about it all. But I didn’t want to. I felt the peace among the ruin-like structures was enough for me.