In her third solo exhibition at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Ella Kruglyanskaya envelops us in a world of high melodrama, with a series of musings on familiar tropes in painting, distorted, reconfigured, and perverted. A painter in black lingerie sits in repose along a Victorian fainting couch, covered in paint splatters and exhausted from a day of work. A rider gallops on horseback, hair blowing in the wind as she attempts to escape the confines of the canvas.
Is it possible to communicate a ‘sincere’ unadorned emotion in painting? Or is the viewer subject to the artist’s technical manipulations? Kruglyanskaya’s paintings consistently break a fourth wall, addressing her audience with a series of trompe l’oeil quips that explore notions of realism in painting, and ultimately play with painting’s potential for illusion.
The viewer completes the visual puns that Kruglyanskaya sets up, succumbing to a fresh logic in each work. In one painting, it is difficult to discern whether a piece of tape has been painted or stuck onto the surface of the painting. Conflating space, she presents us with paintings of drawings, paintings of collages on paper, sometimes combined with objects in ‘real’ space. We eventually notice that the galloping rider sits not on a ‘live’ horse, but on a stationary wooden doll, standing still on four carved legs. Kruglyanskaya has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Bonn (2018); Tate Liverpool; Tramway, Glasgow (both 2016); The Power Station, Dallas; Studio Voltaire, London (2014) and White Columns, New York (2011). Her work was also exhibited as part of the Baltic Triennial (2018) in Vilnius. Born in Latvia in 1978, Kruglyanskaya completed her MFA at the Yale School of Art in 2006. Kruglyanskaya lives and works in Los Angeles.