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Renata Pari-Lewis

Renata Pari-Lewis
Portrait courtesy of Steven Oxenbury

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Renata Pari-Lewis is a Sydney based artist. She completed her Masters in 2008 at the National Art School in Sydney.

"When I look at the human condition I see two sides; the tragic and the comic. As a woman who left her home in Slovakia at the age of 17 I have found myself confronted with numerous situations where I didn’t know whether to laugh of cry. It’s only fair to say I have done a lot of both. Visual imagery, whether painting or theatrical installation, can bring these two into a complimentary relationship. For me the tragic aspect comes from being able to see and recognize our human potential as individuals and as a society and yet being all too aware of how far short we are of realizing this potential. Furthermore we find ourselves attached to so many of the human flaws that stop us achieving a more satisfactory expression of this potential. I like to think humour can help us laugh at ourselves and therefore help us accept the reality of who we are. I often use unlikely, even obscure imagery, to shift the gaze of the viewer from the day to day world. Painting should always arrest the eye. I love the theatre and draw upon its use of archetypal characters. I often use puppets which through their association with childhood help open the viewer to an alternative emotional landscape. On a deeper level such imagery functions as a metaphor for addressing issues in our personal and professional lives. Fictionalized characterization allows me to present the more comic aspects of the same human condition. I want my audience to identify with the work, to relate and realize that we are all playing roles in this human comedy.

The medium of “Visual Arts” gives me access to a broader audience. Everybody in today’s society lives in an avalanche of images. Everyone can ‘read’ an image. I think good art tries to take responsibility for our reading of imagery. This is an opportunity to convey deeper intellectual messages. The challenge for me is to achieve a balance between guiding, even dictating, the response of the viewer and allowing them to bring their own experience to the interpretation of the work. Simply the framework of form/content." Renata Pari-Lewis

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