(Polish, b. 1978; resides in Chicago, IL)
Marzena Abrahamik’s series From a Strange Place (2013-ongoing) is centered on three transformative experiences in the artist’s life: the death of her mother, the birth of her son, and using psychedelics. Abrahamik presents a broad scope of imagery and color palettes throughout the series. In one image, she presents herself—pregnant, nude, flash-lit, and centered on a drab brown couch within a home—at once appearing on high alert while also calmly primordial, as if connected to a wisdom deep within her own ancestry. In another image, she presents a vibrant blue and yellow still life arrangement, weaving glass bottles and orbs among lemons, candles, flowers, and a large backdrop of a billowing mushroom. The image is serene and playful. Abrahamik carefully chooses these objects based on her interest in how certain plants and foods can alter levels of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin—hormones responsible for feelings of well-being and bonding. She states: “I am exploring the intricacies of human relationships rooted in pain and pleasure; how birth, death and psychedelics are experienced through high and low pleasures, historically, culturally and through the lens of memory.”
Marzena Abrahamik received her BA in Political Science and Philosophy from Loyola University her MFA in Photography from Yale University. Her work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions, such as at Aperture, New York; the Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh; Weinberg/Newton Gallery, Chicago; and the Gallery of Classic Photography, Moscow. She is the recipient of the John Ferguson Weir Award, the PACC, and the IAS Artist Project Grant. Her work is included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and Haas Family Art Library at Yale University.