Guillaume Apollinaire, a poet and true friend of painters, attempted the following definition: "Painting is essentially the voice of light. And when light is able to express its full richness, everything is infused with colour." Colour thus needs "richness", complementary saturation, and that very peculiar kind of primary, harmonic tone then becomes the source of derivative, resultant colours and from which sophisticated hues are perfected. These are what everyday reality is made up of, but the holiday of this reality is colourful, festive, choked to saturation, vivid, straightforward, grasping, spontaneous, aggressive, brimming over with joyful vitality - like Katarzyna Kopańska's paintings. Being in close contact with them for any length of time lays one open to their archetypal magic and emotions, coded in brave decorative effects. The artist's fervent trust in painting that is both pure in form and equivocal in universal meanings, sometimes makes her paintings seem like a manifestation of a ritual trance. This must surely have its origins in the very essence of the world, so to speak, and circles around this centre, vibrating with elemental life. The joyful holiday of existence can be luxuriant with passionate expression or celebrated with mystical solemnity.
Any deeper consideration of the creative work of every true painter should include the question of their attitude to nature and reality, and give an explanation of their own unique stylistic code of representation. Katarzyna Kopańska is an artist who creates a broad, extremely general, multi-coloured outlook on the world out of elements taken from reality or even from her immediate surroundings. It is not easy to reconstruct the iconology of her pictures, but the first impression is that these works, with their complex and panoramic representations, derive from the medieval painting convention, that of the first centuries of the second millennium. This line of interpretation indicates the contact with ancient Greek mythology, inherited by the cultures of Rome and Byzantine. And that is the source of our Polish borderland culture, an intersection of varying influences, the assimilation of currents springing from a number of different foreign cultures.
The artist places her stylised shapes of seas, mountains, rivers, buildings, men, birds, animals, plants, objects into vast landscapes, even when the foreground motive is arranged like a classic still life. In "Still Life with Ibis" there is no wall, no tapestry, not even a window. Behind the red bird standing on a chess-board, next to a statuette and a plate of cherries extends a flat, yellow landscape with small pyramids, lakes and small step-shaped buildings. In the centre of the picture entitled "Niche", there is a tree in a flower-pot with a flock of red birds in its crown. Like the Edenic apple-tree of the knowledge of good and evil it sets in order the orange background composition composed of yellow river strips, horn-like hills and small trees. Everything here, like on a naive sketch map, is in a graphic convention and subordinate to the separated middle. (In fact, in all of her pictures the artist uses simplified forms and shapes reduced to calligraphic characters and ideograms.) The picture entitled "Post-Glacial Valley" is composed in the same manner and only the inverse colour tensions are different. The hell-red oval, containing two fish and a boat and placed in the middle of the picture, is surrounded by a cold landscape - blue leaves and cottages, green mountain hillocks and a white strip of sky on the horizon. In the picture "Atrium", the effect of the symmetrically arranged columns of blue trees is intensified by a tree in a flower-pot, also blue, standing deep inside, in the middle of the picture, behind a bowl-like vessel hiding a half-smiling blue mouth. The red shadows of a huge building magnify the feeling of the terrible heat. The air is orange and yellow ... "Still Life with Chameleon and Pitchers" is arranged theatrically. Between red curtains as if drawn aside and big pitchers suspended in the air, on a red table with a bunch of big leaves, a chess-board is placed; a tiny, blue chameleon is sleeping on the board and above it is an aureole-plate with unknown fruit. In the deep distance a view of a spacious ocean and a semicircular edge is just visible - a profile of planet Earth.
Stanisław Tabisz, January 2001.