The Luscious & Seductive Women of Artist Ella Kruglyanskaya’s World
Artwork: Ella Kruglyanskaya, Bathers, 2006.
Artist Ella Kruglyanskaya (b. 1978, Latvia) has found her niche: as a figure painter with a deep and profound understanding of women. Her work is bold and brash, vibrant and dynamic, exciting in its ability to take the most mundane moments of life and render them with searing vitality.
Consider her “Gossip Girls,” painted in 2010, which show two women, seemingly middle age, in the thralls of junior-high-school level entertainment. You know it’s the good stuff, for the woman speaking covers her mouth to obscure her lips as she speaks and muffle the sound. Yet her nipple is hard, indicating her excitement level, while her friend blushes, eyes wide open as her jaw eloquently gapes.
It’s a perfect image of the bond that so many girlfriends share; there is nothing quite so good as a secret revealed to bring people together. Rendered in bright and captivating colors handled with a loose and fluid brushstroke, Gossip Girls speaks to the joys that many find in talking trash about people behind their backs.
It is this sassy splash of insouciance that the artist sprinkles throughout her work, made beautifully evident her first museum exhibition, Ella Kruglyanskaya on view at Tate Liverpool, now through September 18, 2016. Curated by Stephanie Straine, Curator, Tate Liverpool, the show features paintings that survey the last decade of her career, as well as a selection of new pieces created this year referencing objects made in the Weimar Bauhaus. Following Tate Liverpool, exhibition will tour to Tramway, Glasgow (8 October – 11 December 2016).
Kruglyanskaya embraces a wide array of often-overlooked styles and techniques, such as painting with egg tempera, to create a lush, luxurious finish to her work. Her influences are wide and diverse, ranging from ancient Etruscan wall painting and German expressionism to film and popular culture of the 1950s and 1960s.
Taking care to make sure her influences are not evident on the page, Kruglyanskaya synthesizes the various aesthetics that have inspired her work into a new way to express her ideas. Her paintings feature imaginary characters caught in moments of pleasure and pain, resolution and conflict, acting as a counterpoint to the traditionally male depictions of women throughout the history of Western art.
Instead of seeing women as objects of beauty or metaphors for virtue and vice, Kruglyanskaya renders them as complex, enigmatic figures whose intentions and motivations are not immediate apparent on the surface. The result is an intoxicating blend of self-determination that is instantly seductive, Kruglyanskaya reveals women as they are on their own, free in their element to be however they may wish or choose.
All artwork: Courtesy the artist, and Gavin Brown’s enterprise New York/Rome.
Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.