Twenty-four-year-old Elena Grajek is very much of her time – when asked what artists’ work she likes, her lists are always contemporary.
For some, her work might also bring to mind Joan Miro, Paul Klee, Vasily Kandinsky, or Pablo Picasso, or, especially in the case of a work such as Radioactive Cat, surrealists such as Salvador Dali or Rene Magritte.
Hanging on the walls of in Tarrytown are several of Grajek’s giclee digital prints. Giclees are prints which are created on the computer. In Grajek's work, figurative and abstract forms coexist, and the colors are as delicious as the edibles served below them at the Tea Room. People and animals, sometimes clearly depicted and sometimes suggested in an abstracted form, may share a space with squiggles and blobs of color, or with lines that form complex but unidentifiable objects that live only in her work.
Grajek was the youngest artist in the 2010 Westchester Biennial at Castle Gallery, a fact that was noted in the New York Times. She was one of only seventeen artists chosen to show in the Biennial from over eighty applicants.
“My parents have been influential,” she said. “Since they are artists, they took me to a lot of museums growing up.”
To make her giclee prints, she scans her watercolor and pencil drawings, sometimes adding 3D things like string. She then collages them.
"I go through a lot of drawings until I get a unified image,” she said.
In addition to those sources, Radioactive Cat uses found images from an old how-to book, including a Hawaiian landscape, and the cat comes from an antique card set, and the flowers are from an old Woman's Day magazine.
Patriotic Mars got its title, she said, “based on my own interpretation of the figures and the colors. They remind me of aliens, and there is also a ship. I tend to romanticize Mars,” she said, because of its “potential for life and civilization. I am interested in old sci-fi.”
Grajek’s artist’s statement describes her approach:
In my digitally arranged collages bodily forms are reduced to mere suggestions. My interest lies in the human tendency to anthropomorphize, and our capacity to identify with non-living things. I create anonymous mound like forms and childish depictions of people and animals. Scenarios and tensions are created through their placement on the page, giving the viewer an opportunity to personify these creatures and create a narrative of their own. My process of drawing and painting is about discovering these figurative abstractions.
Silver Tips Tea Room will show the work for the next few weeks.