Ewa Juszkiewicz subverts the traditional notion of female portrait sitters as passive, simple subjects in her subtly unusual oil paintings. The artist constructs each painted portrait using familiar tropes from European art history, sometimes even citing specific paintings as inspiration. Female subjects with smooth, pale skin and luxurious apparel are placed in front of abstract or generically bucolic settings, sometimes with a “gender-appropriate” item in hand, like a paint brush, small book, or feather.
But in place of the beautiful face a viewer would expect in the center of these pleasant trappings, Juszkiewicz has turned the subject’s head 180 degrees to show an elaborate hairstyle, or filled the face with unruly plants or ribbons. A statement on the artist’s website explains, “Through the deconstruction of historical portraits, she undermines their constant, indisputable character and tries to influence the way we perceive them. Juszkiewicz experiments with the form of the female figure and face, balancing on the border between what is human and inhuman.”
The artist lives and works in Warsaw, Poland. She is represented by Galerie Rolando Anselmi in Berlin, where she will have a solo show on view in November and December, 2019. Juszkiewicz shares updates from her work and travels on Instagram.
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