Agnes Deja is a visual artist working mainly in painting and sculpture. Deja’s artistic work reflects her interest in environmental consciousness, the perception of space, kinesthetic memories and our accumulated evolutionary knowledge coming from the direct sensory experience of the world. Through her recent work process involving physically engaging gestural work Deja becomes aware of her personal memories including those of domestic labor and reflects on its classification in our society and the fate of historically underrepresented perspectives.
Deja’s recent work is made with acrylic painted and wire supported asphalt-infused paper. Deja is reusing and repurposing this found material, chosen to conceptually represent urban spaces as well environmental impact of urban sprawl. The artist creates flat-surface paintings which are then destroyed and manipulated in a gestural expressive way to build three dimensional sculptural forms. In the series called “Topographies” pieces are constructed from many segments painted in variating colors, and joined together to form a wall-hanging or free-standing sculpture or installation. The results are reminiscent among others of aerial views of geological formations: the soft bulbous round forms bordered by the deep crevices and the hard lines of irregular folds. The palette of highly saturated colors symbolizes the “photoshopped” representation of nature which despite its obvious artificiality remains attractive on some instinctive level (sways of hills with bodies of water etc), evoking our longing for open spaces and a nomadic journey into the unknown. In another series called “Off the Grid” the work is constructed from a wire grid and hand-shaped torn pieces of asphalt-infused paper, painted in lush colors. The title and physical construction refers to both the ecological movement towards sustainable energy use and the spatial intersection of painting and sculpture mediums.
Montclair State University, Montclair NJ, M.A. in Fine Arts, 2011
Jagiellonian University, Cracow PL, M.A. in Psychology
Solo and Two Person Exhibitions:
2018 Mapping the Unknown. Abstract Topographies by Agnes Deja, West Orange Public Library, West Orange NJ.
2017 Under The Same Sun: Democratic Spaces, Index Art Center, Newark NJ. Two-person show.
2017 Transitions, Art Space at Mondo, Summit NJ. Two-person show.
2011 Recent Work by Agnes Deja, Index Gallery / 27 Mix
2011 Expressions of the Worlds of Different Scale, 3.5 Gallery, Montclair NJ
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2018 Regrowing Mountains – Asphalt Gestures. Governors Island Art Fair / GIAF 2018 organized by 4heads, New York NY
2018 Intersections, Index Art Center, Newark NJ
2018 Art of All Americas. Essex County College, Newark NJ
2018 Curators Show. Mondo Contemporary, Summit NJ
2017 Constructed Landscapes installation, Gallery Aferro, Activate Market St, Newark NJ
2017 VACNJ Member show, Visual Art Center of New Jersey, Summit NJ
2017 Winter Invitational Expo 2017, Artfactory Paterson NJ
2016 December Auction Group Show, IAC, Newark NJ
2016 Intersections: 31 Central and 237 Washington, group exhibit, Index Art Center, Newark NJ
2016 Aferro Gallery / Activate Market St, “85 Market St” curated by L.Pinzon and J.Masi
2012 EMart group exhibition, work from Mietko Collection, Brooklyn NY
2011 Index Gallery group show / Auction, Newark NJ
2011 George Segal Gallery, M.A. in Fine Arts Studio students exhibition, Montclair NJ
2011 Jewelry Runway Show, fine art metalwork and jewelry presentation, Montclair NJ
2011 Group Metalwork Exhibition at 3.5 Gallery, MSU Montclair NJ
2006 Daydreams in a Real World, Montauk Library Gallery, Montauk NY
2006 Handmade Print, Past and Present, Cork Gallery, Lincoln Center, New York NY
2005 Parasolka Floats, Galeria Bezdomna – At the Silk Mill, Union City NJ
2004 Philip Glass -music inspired Painting, Bergen Community College, Paramus NJ
2003 Students painting exhibition, Bergen Community College Paramus NJ
1998 Ogólnopolski Przegląd Fotografii “Złota Muszla”, Koszalin, Poland
1995 “Warsztaty Fotograficzne” group exhibit, Galeria Sztuki “Kanonicza 1”, Cracow, Poland
1995 “Strom 95. International Exhibition of Ecological Photography”, Ružomberok Slovakia, traveling exhibition Slovakia – Czechs – Poland
Related experience, Mentions and Publications
2017-18 NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Newark based artists
2017 Artist Talk. Under The Same Sun: Democratic Spaces, Index Art Center, Newark NJ.
2017 Activate Market St, Gallery Aferro https://activatemarketstreet.org/2017/09/27/activate-market-street-featured-artist-agnes-deja/
2017 The Artist Recreates The World, video interview by Gary Campbell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhoYgHvrVbc
2015-17 Newark Open Doors and Spring Block! at Index Art Center, spring & fall open studio and Newark citywide festival events.
2011-13 NP Studios, open studio events, Passaic NJ
2011 NP Studios Passaic NJ https://npstudios.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/agnes-deja/
2006-2010 Photography business: commercial and residential, wedding and portrait, commercial portfolios in interior/ exterior architecture and construction, graphic design: albums and custom publications, website design, advertising materials
2015-17 Artist-in-residence at Index Art Center, Newark NJ
2018 Robert Zurer: In Between The Li(n)es, Mondo Contemporary, Summit NJ
2017 Under The Same Sun: Democratic Spaces, curating and addit. events: artist talk, jazz evening with Leo Johnson, music performance by David Rothenberg, Index Art Center, Newark NJ.
2017 Gazing Back. Curating of exhibit and related events including artist presentation and music performances, Mondo Contemporary, Summit NJ
Deja immigrated to the U.S. in her early 20s following her graduation with an M.A. in Psychology from Jagiellonian University in Cracow and after having been already exhibiting some of her work in the photography medium in Europe. In the following years Deja worked among others as a commercial and portrait photographer and continued exhibiting in the photography medium, as well as painting and metalwork in NJ and NY. In 2011 Deja received a Master degree in Fine Arts from Montclair State University and that year joined the vibrant Newark art scene with a solo paintings show at Index Gallery / 27 Mix. Working out of her studio in Newark NJ since late 2014, Deja explores the mediums of painting, sculpture and installation. In 2017 the artist started to organize exhibits and accompanying events as an independent curator. Her recent shows in 2017 include a two-people exhibit at Mondo Contemporary in Summit NJ, a Newark Open Doors official selection exhibit at Index Art Center and a storefront installation at Gallery Aferro / Activate Market St.