Barskaya’s confessional portraits have a diaristic quality to them. Working from photographs, but allowing for artistic liberties, Barskaya depicts herself, her child and her husband within a domestic space. These portraits are either in the artist’s home in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn or in various accommodations visited throughout her frequent travels (ranging from Upstate, NY to Venice, Italy). Mired in quotidian details, each psychological drama is charged with longing, sexuality and self-reflection.
Barskaya’s paintings hone in on the psychological intensity of their subjects. Within enclosed spaces, Barskaya often uses windows and light to create a sense of disconnect and isolation. Quiet, and still, with rumbling under tones, her paintings are stories about the human condition. Through a combination of vulnerability and power, Barskaya unravels the complexity of life in her sincere portraits.
In the first work of this show titled 'Lounging in Tsagarada', echoes of Pierre Bonnard and Giorgio Morandi are evident in the use of light and color. A nude man is depicted lounging in bed in an impersonal room with an empty desk and nightstand. Perhaps he is just waking up or returning from a swim on a summer day. A conspicuous pair of bright blue shoes stand out against a pale pink floor acting like another cast of characters within this setting. Barskaya’s paintings comment on the power of vulnerability and the strangeness of place.
Polina Barskaya (b. 1984, Cherkassy, USSR) is a Brighton Beach, Brooklyn-based artist. She received a MFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and a BA from Hunter College, NY. Recent group exhibitions include Anna Zorina Gallery, NY; Althuis Hofland Fine Arts, Amsterdam; and Marianne Boesky Gallery, NY. Barskaya’s work is included in an upcoming three-person exhibition at Monya Rowe Gallery in January 2021 titled Me, Myself and I with Aubrey Levinthal and Justin Liam O’Brien. Her work was selected by Jerry Saltz of New York Magazine for the New American Paintings Northeast Edition (2020). This year, she was awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant.