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Izabela Pluta is an artist and academic with an interest in expanded photographic practice. She is currently a Lecturer at UNSW Art and Design teaching and convening undergraduate and postgraduate subjects in Fine Arts. Pluta has taught in tertiary education, specialising in photography at The National Art School, The Sydney College of the Arts and The University of Newcastle, for almost a decade prior to joining UNSW in 2010.
Pluta has exhibited widely in Australia and undertaken international residencies at the Australia Council for the Arts Studio in Barcelona; the Cite des Arts International in Paris; The Art and Design Research Institute, University of Ulster in Belfast; Red Gate Gallery in Beijing; and International Art Space Kellerberrin. Grants and awards include two Australia Council for the Arts New Work Grants; The Qantas Foundation Contemporary Art Award; the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Artists and the Ian Potter Cultural Grant. In 2012 she was commissioned to complete a major public art work for the City of Melbourne. The two‐part billboard was installed on the CitiPower Station in 2013. A major exhibition of her work was held at UTS Gallery Sydney, titled Blue Distance, in 2014. She is represented by This is no fantasy + Dianne Tanzer Gallery in Melbourne.
In 2012 Pluta received a Short Term Mobility Grant (Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations) for a two-week intensive studio project Photomedia: site and context which provided participating students a unique opportunity to develop artwork using the potential of expanded photographic and installation practices in response to the historical and politically loaded Gdańsk shipyard on the Baltic Sea in Poland as part of the Bachelor of Fine Art coursework program.
Pluta's work explores the connection between the philosophical terrain of place, nostalgia and diaspora, and the lure of her personal history (Polish/Australian) to make this enquiry, where she borrows from the practice of archeology to explore the agency of images and their materiality. As a way of thinking about our experience as it is bound to memory and conflated by the passing of time and the span of geographic separation, the images and objects utilised in her creative works - photographed or found - are intended to appear that they are of a certain place, pertaining to something specific and significant - yet the entire premise of their production and exhibition is to remind us that the very thing we seek to locate and recall is always out of reach.