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Solo Exhibition - Valery Yershov


  • Barsky Gallery 49 Harrison Street Hoboken, NJ, 07030 United States (map)

Barsky Gallery presents the major solo exhibition of Russian-born, NYC-based artist, Valery Yershov. "DESOLATED" showcases twelve new paintings from the artist’s most recent body of work. In this new series, isolated characters of allegorical goats and women, existing in multiple dimensions, are displaced from their usual environment and positioned in the remnants and decaying beauty of abandoned interiors. The use of light, a subtle color palette, and the cinematic perspective of these haunting interiors ravaged by time are charged with an overpowering presence, both symbolic and mysterious.

Valery Yershov was born in 1960 in Yessentuki (located at the base of the Caucasus Mountains), Soviet Union, and studied at the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) State Repin Academic Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, then worked at the artists’ community at Furmany Lane in Moscow (along with many famous perestroika generation artists). Since 1989, Valery Yershov has lived and worked in New York.

Desolated series reveals the essential isolation of the individual, and the troubled relationships and tensions within the environment. Yershov’s reflections on the phenomena of art and public life are a constant drive for his artistic process. Yershov perceives the environment surrounding him as an infinite possibility to create art, and art as an opportunity of a metamorphosis of the imperfect world. In the past twenty years, Yershov explored the artistic traditions of Realism in an age of digital manipulation and staged reality, along with the position for figurative painting’s place in a postconceptual art era. In Yershov’s paintings isolated characters of allegorical goats and women, existing in multiple dimensions, are displaced from their usual environment and positioned in the remnants and decaying beauty of abandoned interiors. The use of light, a subtle color palette, and the cinematic perspective of these haunting interiors ravaged by time are charged with an overpowering presence, both symbolic and mysterious. These echo forgotten spaces - desolated places once full of life, now inhabited by displaced characters. The goat provides the viewer with an abundance of Symbolism and Mythology. Yershov’s imagery evokes a wide range of human emotions: psychological discomfort, isolation, danger, anxiety, unfulfilled longing, disillusionment and nostalgia.

In his ironic realism, Yershov utilizes simplified forms and exaggerated figures reinforcing the interplay between particular and generalized components. Yershov’s direct way of rendering his subjects with plastic brushstrokes is a sophisticated way of describing their psychological moods. Sometimes subjects and environments carrying biographic baggage can bring back nostalgic memories of Yershov’s childhood, along with the remnants of the Russian empire and cultural heritage. Some paintings create a sense of uneasiness, elements of tragedy, alluding to cultural and historical memory during the tumultuous times of the Soviet era.

Balancing among dream and reality, theatricality, and absurdity, together with attention to fine details, is signature style of Yershov’s work over the past decades. Yershov constructs his paintings on the intensity of coexistence of opposite extremes and remains open to a multiplicity of interpretations. The arrested moments on Yershov’s canvases invite speculation, the artist does not impose his own reading on his paintings; instead, he plays on the ambivalence of meaning, encouraging discussion of his work.
— Natalia Kolodzei, Kolodzei Art Foundation; Honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts