Zosia Carden is a contemporary artist whose body of work, be it painting, soft sculpture, or installation, explores issues of technology and social connection, domesticity, and nature. Born Zosia Alexandra Grabowska in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Zosia spent her early childhood learning to paint, sew, and observe the natural world with her mother. In her young adult life, growing up in Poland during the communist era, Zosia spent most of her early life expressing herself by making avant garde fashion and wearable art. In her mid 20s, she emigrated to the United States with her husband and son. Zosia and her family eventually settled in Chicago, where she raised her two sons, many pugs, and has developed her body of artistic work. In 2020, Zosia received her MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Artist Statement

I am working on two bodies of work. First, my large scale oil paintings depict scenes of contemporary domestic life in which technology absorbs our attention. On the one hand, I paint moments in which technology bridges a generational divide: see the son sharing the fruits of a new world using a rectangular device with the father. We see growth, discovery, and humility. On the other hand, I paint a young adult entranced in a rectangle as the world, nature, and others, recede into the background. The figures I paint are from direct observations, and by combining abstract elements and figuration in the painting, I can show the figures dreamlike, unconscious state of mind.

Second, my soft sculptures with silk allow me to dive deep into my unconscious and paint and build without premeditation. When I was a child living in Poland, I used to visit my grandparents’ farm in the countryside. The passing seasons and changing colors of Poland’s landscape left me with lifelong dreams of colors and patterns. Because moving dye on silk is a quick process, this process allows me to quickly translate a dream, mood, or feeling onto a material, before my conscious mind catches up. Once painted, I arrange the silk in different forms: into a soft sculpture, wearable art, or a wall of silk.

In the Studio
Michigan Avenue, 2018, Oil on canvas, 74 x 217 in.
Painting Silk
Silk Sculpture, 2016, Silk and metal mesh, 70 x 36 in.
Hanging Painting with Marcinek, 2020, Oil on canvas, 84 x 96 in.
Silk Painting Interview, 2020, Video, 4 mins.