Halinka Orszulok is a painter and occasional curator living on the South Coast of NSW. Since obtaining her Masters degree from Sydney College of the Arts in 2002, she has regularly shown her work in both group and solo exhibitions.
A finalist in the Fleurieu Biennale, Fishers Ghost, Sunshine Coast, Paddington and Sulman art prizes, in 2018 Halinka was the winner of the Glover Art Prize with her work ‘Ponies’. In 2019 she was the curator of ‘Uncertain Territory’ at Artbank, an exhibition examining our multi-layered relationship to landscape as a conceptual space. Her solo exhibition ‘Black Bob’s Creek’ was shown at Wollongong Art Gallery in 2020. 2021 saw her curate ‘False Sense of Security’ for the Lockup, an exhibition questioning ideas and structures that underpin our sense of safety in contemporary Australia. Halinka’s contribution to the Cementa22 festival was titled ‘The Great Divide’. Her work has been collected by Artbank, Gadens Lawyers and the University of Wollongong.
My work is created by painting from photographs which I take at night. Night-time darkness activates the subconscious rendering the familiar strange and introducing elements of the uncanny into the landscape. The paintings deliberately reference the photographic, creating the sense of a stilled moment within a larger narrative.
With an interest in examining the role our individual subjectivity plays in our perception of place, my work investigates spaces that blur the line between nature and culture, the domestic and the unhomely, history and the present. Increasingly ecology, cultural identity and ownership are themes that I like to tease out in my paintings. The scenes that I choose to paint engender a sense of displacement, challenging our preconceived ways of reading the landscape.
Inherent in my representations of the landscape is an acknowledgement of the fact that there is very little of the world that is left untouched by humanity and that the word ‘nature’ has been redefined in the age of the Anthropocene. There is also an understanding of the important role that our connection to place has in reflecting and forming who we are.