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London: Yerka

September 12, 2014 - October 25, 2014

MELA YERKA
And the — the surface is fine and powdery

12 September – 25 October, 2014

MARIA STENFORS Gallery

 

The exhibition title derives from Neil Armstrong’s second sentence on the surface of the Moon. It is sincere and full of the joy of exploration, but remains barely known, inevitably overshadowed by his more famous utterance.

Yerka’s portrait paintings capture 19th Century women — aristocrats, writers, actresses, models, courtesans — and the stories of their lives remembered in history only through their intimate relationships with prominent men of the time. Each of the women craved personal freedom and social appreciation, but in pursuit of it had to rely on male lust and love. Using these stories as a starting point, Yerka creates work that comes to embody the struggle for individuality. In her landscapes, Yerka looks at the human drive to prove oneself and explore. The paintings are inspired by the planned colonisation of Mars — a journey not into the unknown, but for the sake of experiencing and seeing more. Yerka’s Martian landscapes are not immediately discernible in daylight, but once covered in darkness, a vast and mysterious extraterrestrial landscape is revealed. Light paints the picture here: flat, abstract surfaces are defined by reflected daylight, while dramatic, rocky vistas are
shaped by the glowing light emitted from the painting.
Yerka playfully combines various techniques, art motifs and surprising references, using each story as an opportunity to reinterpret art history and explore its contemporary vantage point. Empty, captivating gazes and blank, flat bodies form uneasy portraits that are difficult to place in time. The landscapes from Mars deceive the viewer’s visual perception with rocks and mountains made of light — appearing in the vacuum and conforming to some unearthly laws of space. The diverse works in the exhibition reveal hidden landscapes and vivid colours, while the various materials — wax, oil colours, acrylic paint, marble dust or fluorescent pigment — all serve one purpose: to unsettle and defamiliarise the viewer.

Details

Start:
September 12, 2014
End:
October 25, 2014
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Venue

MARIA STENFORS
Unit 10, 21 Wren Street
London, WC1 0HF United Kingdom
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Website:
http://www.mariastenfors.com/exhibitions/mela-yerka-and-the-the-surface-is-fine-and-powdery/