My current painting practice has been very much influenced by my geopolitical origins. I was born in 1979, in the former Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, then part of the Soviet Union, an era which has always fascinated me with its paradoxes and peculiarities.
Much of my imagery is directly taken from Soviet Estonia’s women’s magazine ‘Soviet Woman’. As Judith Butler says: ‘Masculine and feminine roles are not biologically fixed but socially constructed.’ ‘Soviet Woman’ created images of femininity according to the communist ideology of work – women as hard working comrades of Soviet society. Sections of the magazine were dedicated to teaching women skills, that were considered useful, like cooking, health and beauty, and hand-crafting skills like crocheting, knitting, sowing, etc. It even included indispensable life skills like raising children.
The source material I work from dates from 1955 to the 1980s; I usually select photographs which feature women hard at work in traditionally ‘masculine’ milieus like farms, factories and construction sites. I choose my references quickly, working from a gut instinct; then I convert the selected image into what I loosely describe as a ‘painting’. I abstract the imagery from the original photograph to create simplified shapes which emphasise the workers and the act of working, not the work being produced.
In these works, I seek to create a tension between the logic of ‘should’ and the logic of ‘play’. I try to use paint, not as it ‘should’ be used – a medium to be applied to a surface using specific tools – but as a form-able, tangible, almost sculptural medium ripe for manipulation. My paintings are collaged from dried layers of acrylic or household paint, which I manipulate at different stages of drying – by scraping, folding, cutting, drawing into and building up. My work is distinguished by a palpable use of surface textures cast as paint. I often manipulate the context of mass-produced materials and convert them into figurative artworks. I also use cosmetic items to make marks into paint. The paint in this way becomes the surface as well as the medium. I often try to make the paint look like some other material, e.g., wool, wood or stone – frequently as a playful response to the materials represented in the source photographs. Some of my paintings are built up by collaborating collage techniques and traditional handcraft, such as basket weaving, knitting and crocheting (jobs that women were required to do, according to the social idea of femininity constructed by the magazine ‘Soviet Woman’).
biggest influence through out my art practice is contemporary and traditional
ceramics. That is the reason; I use gold and silver in my works. In
contemporary and traditional ceramics usage of silver and gold is often a must,
but in painting usage of silver or gold is not that common
I also use mass-produced tools, considered traditionally feminine, like icing nozzles and hair combs to create my paintings. To give my work a three-dimensional sculptural form, I make acetate structures by vacuum forming traditionally considered feminine objects like combs, brushes, cosmetic items, polishers, files, toys etc. Then I fill these forms with paint and when paint has dried, I remove these sculptural paint objects from acetate structures and incorporate them into my paintings. I generally choose to hang the paintings further from the wall to emphasise their object-like format.
To begin talking about my work, I find it is most helpful to talk about my history and upbringing. I like to think that true art should be as a result of a person’s journey through life; unique and personal. I was born in the Former Soviet Socialist Republic of Estonia. The era in which I was born has always fascinated me with its paradoxes and peculiarities. Suffice to say, my geographical origin hugely influences my art.
I moved to Ireland a decade ago, and I found there was always a part of me that wanted to return to education and continue studying my craft. Four years ago I decided to go back to college to pursue studies in Fine Art Painting. I graduated with an honours degree in Fine Art, Paint from the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Through both my earlier experience as an artist and through continued learning in college, I have found my own unique style which takes from many aspects of my upbringing and heritage. The imagery of my work is directly taken from Soviet Estonia’s women’s magazine ‘Soviet Woman’. As Judith Butler says: ‘Masculine and feminine roles are not biologically fixed but socially constructed‘. ‘Soviet Woman’ created images of femininity according to the communist ideology of work – women as hard working comrades of Soviet society.
My paintings/collages are made from acrylic and household paint skins using a collage technique. I manipulate these pieces during different stages of drying – by scraping, folding, cutting, drawing into and building up. For me the most enjoyable and exciting part of my work is inventing new ways to create art. For example, recently I have started to make acetate structures by vacuum forming traditionally considered feminine objects like combs, brushers, cosmetic items, polishers, files, toys, etc. I then fill these forms with paint, and when it has dried, I remove these sculptural paint objects from acetate structures and incorporate them into my paintings.
2017 May, ‘Bare Magazine’, Issue 2
2017 April, ‘Art Maze Magazine’, Issue 2
2016 October, 'Average Art Magazine', Issue 3, UK
2016 August, ‘The International Painting Annual (INPA6)’, Manifest publication, Ohio, USA
2015, ‘Aye Magazine’, November online Issue
2015, ‘Art’s New Wave’, Irish Arts Review, Autumn Issue, Ireland
2015, ‘Fresh Paint Magazine’, October Issue
Floorr Magazine. Interview