Figures in Flux
VAULT catches up with Ella Kruglyanskaya, the New York artist whose high-voltage paintings of women are a study in movement, playfulness and wit.
“Woman! Painting! Woman!” yells the title of Latvian-born, New York-based Ella Kruglyanskaya’s 2012 solo exhibition at Gavin Brown’s enterprise in New York City. It’s a deceptively blunt description – depending on your cadence – given that Kruglyanskaya’s paintings are almost exclusively of women: women at work, women sunbathing, women in conspiratorial huddles. Often dressed in striking outfits (a curve-hugging dress covered in pineapples, or a striking forest-green miniskirt paired with a classic Breton shirt, for example), Kruglyanskaya’s women loom larger than life, some standing almost two metres tall. Her tightly constructed scenes, economical brushstrokes, and deft, humorous touch draw parallels with comic-book panels. It’s a comparison that is often made when contextualising Kruglyanskaya’s work, despite her preference
for traditional materials like oil and egg tempera, and comparatively epic scale.
“I didn’t grow up with comic books,” she says, “and though I realise there are similarities, the way I arrived is different. I’m coming from traditional figuration. There’s also a big difference in scale. The scale of comic books is very important, and the scale of my work is very important. I think when you do it on a much larger scale it’s a different experience.”
She continues: “A lot of people ask me that because they experience my work on a screen, where it all looks very compressed and it immediately reminds you of a comic book. If you see [the work] in person, it’s so much bigger that it’s not necessarily the first thing you think about, because you’re confronted with this large thing that ... Subscribe to read this article in full