Yana Payusova: Revolutions

Thursday, September 20 - Friday, December 14, 2018

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 20, 2018, 5 - 7:30 pm

Rubin Center Project Space


Revolutions explores the dynamics of power and gender through vivid imagery painted onto large ceramic vessels. Even though this series is very much rooted in the tradition of the narrative ceramic vessel, these forms deconstruct the functionality of a decorative utilitarian receptacle. The vessel functions as a circular canvas whose interior and exterior spaces are activated with imagery examining the ever-changing roles of women and cultural gender norms. It brings into question constructions of power in relation to expectations of behavior and beauty. Complexities of sexuality, motherhood, and aging are revealed with the vessels slowly rotating on pedestals, creating a continually moving and overlapping progression of imagery of revolving juxtapositions, nuanced angles, and sliding points of view.

The renderings on the surfaces are informed by Akio Takamori sculptures, Soviet propaganda posters, the early Will Eisner comics, the wordless woodcut novels of the 1920s, the Ancient Greek orgy cups and the Japanese Ukiyo-e prints. The tropes and allusions presented in the works cannot be separated from the ongoing debate over female body rights concerning birth/abortion, circumcision, body coverage/exposure, contraception, and obligations within matrimony. Throughout history, the unclothed female figure has carried the baggage of objectification, voyeurism, exoticism, desire, and struggle for power and control. Inspired by her cultural heritage and training in traditional Russian realist painting, Payusova also presents a selection of her earlier works that blend the styles of folk art, Russian icons, graphic poster art, illustration and comics that narrate a magic realism through the symbolic and allegorical characters that thread throughout her work.

Yana Payusova was born in 1979 in Leningrad, USSR. Classically trained as a painter at the St. Petersburg Fine Art Lyceé, she later immigrated to the U.S.   She received an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Payusova exhibits both nationally and internationally, including recent venues at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Howard Yezerski Gallery (Boston), Mimi Ferzt Gallery (NYC) and Galerie Caprice Horn (Berlin). She currently teaches at the University of Arizona in Tucson.