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The artist says:

“Being from Macedonia, the influence of Byzantine art is present in my work: figuration and symbolism are dominant. My individualistic approach comes from inner explorations and my personal struggle to initiate a symbiosis between tradition, my deep thought and beliefs. This includes the emotional. This rational thought and this treasure of irrational and subconscious information are brought together in a certain intuition. Based on anthropology and mysticism, intuition was explored in the 20th century by Gustav Klimt and Odilon Redon, but for me it is Byzantine simplicity that remains my spiritual and visual modus.”

“How do we achieve the beauty of simplicity and the existence of a world of values and virtues that we must not forget? The paradox consists in, simultaneously, preserving tradition through figurative representation, and being turned towards the new. Trying to be free in my artistic expression is my main motto. Art is a problem of freedom. I create a bridge between abstract and figurative realities by combining them in my authentic way, which consists in translating the intellectual approach to return to a symbolic expression.”

The critics say:

Ljupco Malenkov writes: “Irena is an artist who demonstrates aesthetic ambition. Through drawing, composition, relationships with colored surfaces, she creates sensitive works, works full of drama of the lived element, with emotional tremors that show the reliability and power of artistic language. A magical realism that emphasizes destruction. A warning, a whimsical charge with visual suggestion. Visions, shapes and volumes, seamless parts with nuanced invention, thus achieving visual artistic creation. Her art represents a desperate focus on verifying reasons and how she expresses her personal inner upheaval an extremely interesting way to deal with the past, the culture of that time, revealing its intuition and volatility Scenarios and symbols on eroticism feminine, but also about the ironic weirdness of the world. Her works emanate from the power of the spectacle (drama) where emotion is the force that unites and creates emptiness. Hence narrative landscapes as the result of her visions and dreams, all in an atmosphere of hidden memories.”

Maja Kуankulovska-Mihajlovska writes: “When one discovers the works of Irena Gapkovska, it is certain, at first glance, that she has impressively mastered the elements of painting – line, color, shape. One of the peculiarities of Gapkovska’s figurative representations is the transfer of anatomical details to the ideal human body, unconsciously applied rules and great knowledge and study of anatomy. Returning to the beginning, the drawing (which according to the author is “the basis of everything”) comes from the line that is fast and dynamic, but at the same time soft, light and characteristically wavy. From the intuitive dynamic line emerges a multitude of forms that suggest free movement and which, in the designs, develop into a lyrical graphic design with a pronounced affinity for detail and reflections of Byzantine ornamentation. From the striking intertwining of contrasting elements, the artist solutions are born precisely from the ease of the intuitive gesture or the self-reflective line that forms a continuous game in which the fusion of figurative representations and abstract details is integrated. The freedom the game offers with all the items listed speaks for even a desired escape from everyday reality into various fantasy worlds where the emotions of “joie de vivre” are at the forefront.”

Diego Friso writes: “The psychic and symbolic movement of the artist’s soul appears at the precise moment when the brush strikes the canvas. Irena’s art is a flight of the mind towards an infinity full of colors and moments of life… a reality perhaps dreamt or only imagined. Through a deluge of colors, underlined and sometimes almost hidden expressions, we feel a very special feeling.”