Art lets people venture inside the artist’s mind, but also gives the freedom to see it from different perspectives. As Denison welcomed Yevgeniya Baras for her artist talk on Thursday March 1, students gathered in the Knapp Performance Space to hear all about her artistic escapades.
Baras currently lives and works in New York. After receiving her BA and MS from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003, she went on pursue her MFA in painting and drawing from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. Before moving to New York, she started an art gallery in an old apartment with one of her friends from college. The gallery was dedicated to their professors and students from the Art Institute of Chicago where they had studied for the past three years.
Her paintings are known for their small, highly detailed depictions of layered abstraction. Inspired by touch, Baras’s work demonstrates the transformation of materials, with the canvas acting as a body with skin and scars. One of her more unconventional works includes a canvas that she stitched using different colored threads. She’s also known to use a variety of patterns in her artwork, and in the past has travelled for a week-long research project to look at the creations of other artists.
When asked about her study of artistic patterns through time, Baras said, “The ancient spaces, the layering of history is what feeds my work quite a bit. Something really special happens to me when I stand in front of such an old piece of art.”
“Her lecture was inspiring and encouraging, I was intrigued by her journey as an artist in today’s world. She opened my eyes to the number of possibilities open to aspiring artists and proved that one need not limit themselves to one aspect of art alone,” said Shruti Shankar ‘21, a studio art major from Chennai, India who attended Baras’s talk on Thursday evening.
Baras spoke about how a lot of people such as famous painters, film producers and fiction writers, are responsible for shaping her artwork. One of her favorite artists is American writer Flannery O’Connor.
“Since graduate school, what really feeds my mind and soul is other people’s creative writing,” said Baras while referring to O’Connor’s work as an influence on her life. “It helps my imagination travel in a bunch of interesting places.”
Her artwork has been displayed in multiple galleries around New York, such as the “Zurcher Gallery” and the “Asya Geisberg Gallery.” She is the recipient of the Artadia Prize and was chosen for the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program and the MacDowell Colony residency. She also curates exhibitions and is the co-founder of Regina Rex Gallery in New York City.