Yevgeniya Baras

I believe painting to be a conglomeration of time and experience, and my paintings
record intentional and chance-driven activities, creating a kind of compacted evidence of
my understandings, memories, and physicality.
My canvases evoke the body. In my work, I deal with the body as a container, a shell.
The paintings are like hides; sometimes the way paint is handled references hides with all
the imperfections: scars, bumps, pores, orifices. Skin demarks what is outside from what
is inside; the paintings wear a heavy shell but they allow the viewer a peak at the internal.
Sometimes orifices are illustrated as in the case of image 1. Sometimes they are
punctures in the surface of an image (as in the case of image 5), revealing both the wall
behind the painting and the layers that comprise the painting. There are also smiles,
lashes, eyes, tears that occur in the work.
Encountering the surfaces of my paintings, one encounters bodies that have been affected
and wear the scarring. Paintings are surrogates for the stigmatized, demonized,
condemned, and inferior but at the same time they are often the exoticized, eroticized,
fetishized and objectified.
These paintings are constructed slowly over time, considered, reworked, encrusted. They
talk about an uneasy kind of beauty: unsettling and even repulsive.
Doubling and symmetry is a constant in the work. I say something, and then I say it
again. I restate in order to highlight my commitment to that very shape, that very
sentence. It is also about coupling: the strength and symbolism of two. Doubling
references pages of a book. I grew up with a reverence for literature. In the Soviet Union
where I was born, books were hard to come by; they were precious cargo. When my
Jewish Russian family immigrated to the US in early 90s, books were some of the only
items we took with us. Books were rare and precious precisely because that is how bits of
truth and openness seeped into otherwise rather brainwashed Soviet mentality.
As in image 6 I use marks to signify a system of writing. It is a reference to painting as a
language of communication but also to writing as a record of knowledge, of the scared,
the poetic, and the personal.
The layering of surfaces highlights my interest in history, in unearthing and covering, in
constructing, and retelling: personal history and world history alike. I am interested in the
trace of human activity: a shirt of a loved one hanging on an arm chair after they left, the
piles of bones remaining on a dinner table after a great conversation and a meal. That is
how I know the event actually happened. There is something concrete in the debris—
proof. Same with painting; it is proof that I moved, traced, sprayed, performed: that I
marked time and commemorated.
For me, the paintings convey the feeling of excavation, burying, and resurfacing; they are

unearthed archeological objects.
Over the past two years all my paintings are 16” x 20”, the reason being that I want a
feeling of compression to be communicated through the work. When I make these
paintings I can handle them any which way: I can turn them easily, I can hug them, layer
them, cover their territory. I hope for vastness and depth to be contained in a small space;
these are pregnant moments. They are portrait size paintings. The head is where feelings
are produced; it is the ruling mechanism of the body. It is it’s motor. Their size implies
intimacy. I touch the painting everywhere, like a cutlet fully rolled in breadcrumbs, I
brush in to all the corners of the object. I visit all the crevices, and my brush invites every
cell of the painting into the conversation.
My Paintings are a search for archetypal symbols that may be buried inside the collective
psyche, as well as the exploration of assigning symbols to my investigation of the human
condition. Specifically, my symbolical investigations consider; the landscape, the body as
closeness, division, burdens, coupling, guilt, lack of understanding, and loneliness. For
me, symbolism is a way celebrate the mystery.