Ella Kruglyanskaya: Fancy Problems
4 Sep - 3 Oct 2015
‘Fancy Problems’, Ella Kruglyanskaya’s first exhibition at Thomas Dane Gallery, marks a return to London after her debuts at Studio Voltaire in April of last year.
The New York painter’s flagrant attitude is loud and unapologetic, nostalgic, sardonic, at the same time voyeuristic and confrontational, unsettlingly bittersweet yet enduring.
Kruglyanskaya’s paintings exist in an echo chamber of images saturated with yellows and chalky flesh tones, exaggerated croppings of cartoonish distortions and trompe-l’oeils. This is a world of women: callipygous women, women running away and toward the surfaces while dancing and showing off their stuff. Women in action and in repose, reluctant, animated, defiant, lounging, sunbathing or simply looking back at the viewer with petulance.
Firmly invested in possibilities of representation in painting, Kruglyanskaya mines the histories of painting, textile design and graphic arts. When a patterned scarf and a pair of shoes make an appearance, they allude at once to real fashion and the humble genre of still life painting. The bold flat colors and framing devices in which the figures are situated, simultaneously acknowledge early 20th century painting and film posters of the 50s and 60s.
To walk the fine line between sketchiness and assurance, between pseudo-gauche and rigour, Kruglyanskaya grounds her practice in relentless draftsmanship. She fills her studio with hundreds of drawings. These reappear, scaled-up in the paintings: illusions of drawing, allusions to drawings. Posit here Alfred Hitchcock’s comment that “self-plagiarism is style”, in the way that constant repetition and self-quotation create a blend of focus and tension.
Born in 1978 in Latvia, Ella Kruglyanskaya now lives and works in New York. Kruglyanskaya completed her MFA at Yale School of Art in 2006. On the occasion of her solo exhibition at Studio Voltaire in 2014 ‘How to work together’, Studio Voltaire and Koenig Books published the monograph Ella Kruglyanskaya. Other recent solo exhibitions include ‘Grafika’ at The Power Station, Dallas, Texas.