At first glance, it‘s hard to say exactly what this is. It‘s an abstraction. It might appear completely incomprehensible or quite the opposite – a revelation of endless meaning. This is exactly why the Soviet regime considered abstraction to be ideologically flawed – the perversion of bourgeois art. Artists who attempted to paint in this way during the Soviet years understood that they would never be able to display such work in public.
Kazimiera Zimblytė‘s abstractions were put on display once, however, in 1968, when some twenty of her abstract canvases were hung or arranged on chairs in a hall at the Vaga publishing house. The government soon forced the organizers to shut down the exhibition, but this didn’t deter Zimblytė from exploring new creative methods.
If we take a closer look, we‘ll notice that material plays a very important role in Zimblytė‘s work. She began painting after graduating with a degree in textiles, which is why various types of material became natural components of her work. Here, she even used five different materials: thick squares of leather glued to the surface and torn pieces of imitation leather sewn into a fabric which was then sewn onto the canvas. Zimblytė used the thickness of the paint, the uneven surfaces of the canvas, and its many threads, tears, cracks and cuts to create something more than a painting – it was a new expanse meant to provoke a viewer‘s senses and encourage a return to the basic elements of life: nature, existence and matter.
Zimblytė uses scraps to construct a universal world that can encompass everything: the despair of unfulfilled love, attempts to resist frustrating circumstances, efforts to find the meaning of life through the contemplation of the grandeur of the world and what lies beyond it, and the longing for spiritual harmony. Zimblytė wasn’t afraid of the darker side of human existence – indeed, it is a frequently occurring motif in her work. Determined not to conform to the demands of officially-sanctioned painting and remaining true to abstraction, Zimblytė essentially condemned herself to a life on the margins of artistic society, and was thus forced to endure moments of despair, rejection, solitude, and personal failure.