Gabrijela Iva Polic is one to watch. After graduating from the College of Fine Arts last year, she’s already been invited to take part in her first exhibition, after giving up her former life as a customs officer.
Entitled Sydney Who and held at The Hughes Gallery in Surry Hills, the exhibition will showcase up and coming artists of Sydney. Gabrijela is ecstatic to be involved: “From someone who just graduated from art school five minutes ago with no exhibition history, to work with an established gallery that has been standing since 1969, I was and am, seriously chuffed and honoured.”
Though it’s no surprise Gabrijela is getting recognition, her work very unique and distinct, it is rich in vivid colour and intricate patterns. Inspired by the shape of organisms that live off and grow from one another, her abstract shapes seem almost lifelike.
Love is a common theme for Gabrijela and her central inspiration: “I’m so inspired by love and everything that comes with it: the passions, the longing, the sadness, the bursts of joy. All of it and more.” Philosophy and the workings of the natural world are also heavy influences.
Yet it is not just the subject matter which is unique, Gabrijela’s use of materials is also worth noting. “The canvas works are predominately paintings, however if you get up close and personal you will notice quite a lot detailed of penwork,” she says. “The works on paper are quite often mixed media and on my new works I have been stitching into them with these beautiful metallic threads.”
Being an artist wasn’t always on the cards. For seven years, she worked as a customs officer, later juggling study and work and then finally taking the plunge and changing careers.
“Eventually I decided that the only way I was going to get good enough to make painting a full-time thing that actually worked was to hang up my customs boots and paint every day,” she explains. “I followed my heart and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.”