To thrive as artists, we need the right environment: a rich artistic community, local and international collectors, an engaged audience, affordable studio space… New York, really has it in spades, and then some.
Even though there are art fairs, biennials and the Internet, which have all made it easier for artists to broadcast their work globally, New York seems to remain the center of the art universe. Agnieszka Pilat aspires for her work to be global; yet ‘global’ seems to be tied to a specific location, which is still New York. Every time Pilat hears someone refer to her as a ‘local artist’ her ego suffers a blow. If moving to New York City is what it takes to cast-off this label, Pilat just may be ready to take that risk.
“The thought of leaving San Francisco, and Silicon Valley behind, my friends, collectors and the many entrepreneurs fills my heart with sadness. The center of my universe is in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is THE CENTER of the universe as it relates to innovation and technology, which has, and continues to change the world. The future is made here. My machines are born here, and my work pays tribute to that spirit.”
“My universe, revolves around Art – and that’s with a capital ‘A’. And in the universe of Art it’s New York that is at the center, which everything else revolves around.”
Agnieszka Pilat is a Polish painter based in San Francisco. In Pilat’s studio, posters of the Soviet Era and European tradition result in vibrant renderings of her subjects, machines. They channel the tension between humans and device. Machines are integral parts of our personal and public lives. As we shift from hardware to software, interfaces become increasingly humanized. Pilat’s work plugs into the increasingly powerful industry of tech, in new and unexpected ways.
A desire to tell stories is what drew Pilat to the arts. With aspirations to create graphic novels, she trained as an illustrator. Soon she discovered that painting was an apt enough medium to tell her stories.
SKS a real estate development and investment firm that specializes in renovating historical buildings, while preserving some of their historical features commissioned Pilat’s first machine-portrait.
Through Steve Jurvetson, the venture capitalist that sponsored Tesla and Space X, Pilat gained access to artifacts from NASA and Sputnik. Pilat’s re-imaging of machines and their identity has made a mark on the predominantly male-dominated tech industry. During Women’s History Month she was invited to speak at a Google X event where she presented her portrait of “Amazing Grace,” a portrait of a Univac Mercury Delay Line Memory Tank (1951) wearing two red ribbons.
Right now Agnieszka Pilat’s work is on display at Artplex Gallery in a show that focuses on the advents of technology through fine art. Her workpays tribute to industry while confronting humanity’s fear approaching automation.
Pilat’s romance with painting started as a result of her fascination with American industry, not art. She sort of fell into the art world through the back door by using the language of painting as a way of telling her story. It was the story of machines, innovation and industry in America as seen through the eyes of someone who grew up in Eastern Europe. Living in the center of the ‘art hub’ was never a priority for Pilat, while being near entrepreneurs and innovators was.
New York City is the premiere stage for radical artistic expression and is home to more galleries and major art institutions than anywhere else in the world and is where Agnieszka Pilat belongs.
To quote Stephen Sondhein “Art isn’t easy, Any way you look at it!”
You can soon see Pilat’s art in NYC at the NYA Art Center, 7 Franklin Place in the heart of TriBeCa.