Arts review: Ella Kruglyanskaya Exhibition

Tramway, 12th October – 11th December

Ella Kruglyanskaya’s exhibition at the Tramway consists of paintings filled with child-like imaginations, vibrant colours and unique compositions. The enjoyment of the artist is obvious when looking at the micro worlds with textures of rich oil or lush tempera, crafted by skilful hands. Her work is hilarious, spontaneous and, most importantly, dominated by vivid female personalities. Yes, these worlds belong to women and women only.

Women with lemon boobs and giant red lips, discussing life. Women wearing blank dresses with green and red cut-offs at a cocktail party, looking snobbishly elegant. Women sunbathing and reading on the grass, next to a giant red lobster. Kruglyanskaya gives life to women in art by presenting them with their own narratives. Narratives with curves, attitudes and a fabulous sense of fashion. Art critics often describe her art as being “cinematic”. Indeed, Kruglyanskaya freezes imagined moments of conflict and tension between women and displays them on canvas. Some works, such as “Girls With Drinks with Paper Cutouts”, seem unfinished while others, like “Lobster Picnic”, are packed with expressionist elements. These different styles all serve the purpose of capturing the fraction of a moment, like a movie frame, in a life so full of impressions we either miss out on most things or become overwhelmed.

Yet beneath all the colliding colours and dry humour Kruglyanskaya makes a statement. In “Bathers”, she confronts the male gaze of society and reclaims women’s authority over their own body. In a long history of female nudes as the primary artistic object, her take on the subject is indeed much needed. As she once said in an interview: “It’s very difficult to fight when you are naked.” With artists like Kruglyanskaya, one shall hope to expect more women to be portrayed as true human beings in the way they are – fun, dynamic and original.

[Nini Huang]

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