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Magda Jarkowiec Uses Humor And Lots Of Fabric To Engage With Her Audience

Photo by Sarah Annie Navarrete
"Imaginary Objects #1/Reindeer" by Magdalena Jarkowiec

Unusual Kinships, a new solo show from soft sculpture artist Magda Jarkowiec, is currently on display at Dimension Gallery. Jarkowiec has been creating art since 2001, but hasn’t always felt free to actually call herself an artist.

“It’s been a brief period of time that I’ve thought of myself as an artist,” says Jarkowiec. “It was more like I had certain skills – I knew how to sew clothing, which I still do – and it just kind of occurred to me that this was possible, that I could make these things. And I started making them and have been consistently kind of consumed by it and excited by it. It was just something I started doing that I didn’t stop doing.”

These days, though, Jarkowiec is feeling more free to giver herself the title of artist. “It was very recent,” she says, adding with a laugh, “It took a lot of therapy. Because it seemed kind of…. ostentatious to me or something. I don’t know. But the fact is that this is how I spend a lot of my time, and [the work] has become a lot more sophisticated.”

“I use fabric and poly-fil and kind of an interior skeleton to make human forms – humanesque forms – out of fabric,” Jarkowiec says. “Most of my work is these kind of distorted, incomplete bodies with kind of unusual proportions. So my work generally deals with… the uncanniness of being a body, being a form. We’re this thing that we have to… take responsibility for and that we have shame about, but that we aren’t responsible for, you know? That we don’t have any choice about.”

Credit Sarah Annie Navarrete
"The Lick" by Magdalena Jarkowiec

“For this show, I’ve been thinking a lot about… the way that the stuff in our world and the space in our world has its own personality,” she says. “How your home demands these things of you and irks you. So I’m making a lot of stuff for this show that’s these kind of object-human hybrids.”

There’s a humor to her works that Jarkowiec hopes the audience will engage with. “For me, humor is super important in my work,” she says. “It’s definitely a way, I think, to engage people and make them feel included in what you’re doing. I always just want people to be kind of delighted. Just to be energized and aroused and delighted by this strangeness in the world, this totally unnecessary use of materials and time and space, you know?”  

"Unusual Kinships" is on display at Dimension Gallery through May 18.

Mike is the production director at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, and the Sonic ID project, and also produces videos and cartoons for When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.
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