Bortolami Gallery opens its latest exhibition this month with a body of works by artist Ella Kruglyanskaya, marking the artist’s first show with the gallery, and a continuation of her continued explorations of the human body and varied notions of femininity.
Drawing attention to the heightened plots of female sexuality and its mundanity alike, Kruglyanskaya’s painted bodies reenact and subvert the womanhood canonized in traditions of western painting and in visual culture, infusing gendered tropes with her brash and comedic approach to representation. Rendered in a loose, flowing style that underscores the artist’s expressive hand and interest in a range of poses and forms, her works are consistent in their challenging of framing, and her latest works continue to negotiate the relationship between the spectator and her fictional characters. Features and identities are revealed and obscured by methodical cropping and superimposed trompe l’oeil tools of her trade, from used paint rags and torn paper to the dried paint on the handles and ferrules of the paintbrushes.
Kruglyanskaya works non-hierarchically and seamlessly between painting and drawing mediums, with drawings serving as a site for experimentation that is then writ large against the canvases on view in the show. Here, the two are offered together, presenting a moment to consider and decode the gestures that seem to float in and out of view across the two bodies of work, and the dichotomy between drawing and painting becomes even less distinguishable as Kruglyanskaya lays and tapes paper edges against vivid patterns and ominous negative space.
The figures themselves take on a somewhat more subdued nature by comparison with past work, with these subjects frequently dressed in washes of plaid and patterned fabrics, a detail the speaks to investigations of the body within space, and an interest in how the body ultimately relates to the broader network of lines and forms contained within the canvas’s bounds.
Welcoming a studied exploration of the gaze in negotiation with the artist’s work to both obfuscate and challenge it, the show presents a striking continuation of Kruglyanskaya’s work. It closes December 18th.
– C. Rhinehardt
Lorna Simpson at Hauser & Wirth [Exhibition Site]