People
Solidarity: The Struggle for Freedom, and Overthrow of Communism | 1980 - 1989

Artist Izabella Kay

(b. 1957 in Wrocław)

Izabella Kay (b 1957) was educated in Communist Poland, where in 1981 she obtained her MA on the subject of the Export of Polish Art. Since then she has been based in London.

After a successful career in the City, she trained as an artist. For over twenty years she has exhibited internationally and acquired numerous collectors in the U.K, Poland, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Brazil, China, Spain and the USA. Kay has a distinctive abstract style and has become known for her gigantic multi-canvas oil installations. Initial success came with a sell-out solo show Fifty Experiments, One Love 2004. This led to a number of significant commissions. Her largest work to date consisted of 500 oil paintings Phantasmagoria 2006, part of which was featured at FOCUS 2006, Chelsea Design and World of Interiors Magazine. The work took over two and a half years to complete and was subsequently sold out at the re-arranged show Perception Altered in 2007 in the Cork Street Gallery. The multimedia presentation that accompanied this show was shown separately at The Polish Underground Festival in Poland Street, 2007.

The installation Passions, Possessions, Repetitions (2005) was shown at London Art Fair and reserved to become a  permanent showpiece in the offices of the Polish Cultural Institute, London.

Her sold-out series Falling further explored the ever-changing relationship between colour, texture and the emotions that they evoke as well as rules that can be bent or broken.

In 2009 Kay was invited to show her Passionate Curiosity About Blue 40 feet long, 248 oil on canvas painting installation during Miami Basel Season.

In October / Nov 2009 Kay was featured in “London Creatives – Polish Roots” Poland Year Presentation in the Museum of London.

A further solo show followed in 2011 with Participating Presence at The Cork Street Gallery (as reviewed in Art of England – by BBC art Critic Estelle Lovatt).

Numerous art fairs in New York, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and 20/21 International at RCA, London followed. In 2013, inspired by David Hockney Kay developed her Hypnosis series – digitally remastered oil paintings, so-called IKADs (Izabella Kay Art Diffusion, edition of 6 produced as diabond diasec on aluminium). These prints sold out the same year in Hong Kong. A sell-out fashion line of Foulards and Kaftans (Foularts, Art Kaftans and Art Kimonos) Art meets fashion in silk and cashmere followed. Some of these printed works were later presented as a collage Allergy to Grey (2015) where the silk was hand embroidered on the raw canvas.  In this way completing the creative circle and journey from pure pigment and oil painting via digital back to canvas. 2009-2013 – Photography project Astonished By Sun of 5000 sunrises captured and produced on diabond, diasec,  in site-specific installations was sold in fractions. 2013-2015 – series of large oil paintings entitled Imprints, Impressions and Inversions which can currently be seen in HBO, BBC  “Industry” Series 1 and 2 as a part of the art collection of the fictional bank “Pierpoint”. Critically acclaimed Industry was written and co-produced by her son Konrad Kay and his Oxford friend Micky Down.

Kay has spent the last few years on commissions, creating  IKADs, concentrating on her new large multi-canvas (12 canvas ) work entitled DREAM BIG as well as preparing for Miami Art Fair – Context 2022. During lockdown, she edited, translated and narrated her late mother’s book  “Bitter Honey”, currently available as a podcast on Spotify.

In 2000 Kay set up a Gallery project Vernissage to help young Polish artists to exhibit internationally. The project ran for over 16 years was the first commercial platform to showcase young Polish artists, (mainly graduates from Academies of Fine Art In Poland) exhibiting their work In London, NY, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.