SELECTED WORKS BY Dasha Shishkin
What Does It Matter To Her Ever Creating Womb If Today Matter Is Flesh And Tomorrow Worms
Mixed media on Mylar
152.4 x 213.4 cm
Driven by line, Dasha Shishkinâ€™s colourful drawings display an inventiveness and confidence not limited to fluid draughtsmanship. Her large-scale compositions on Mylar are inhabited by a psychedelic multiplicity of scenes and characters, bordering on the comical and the grotesque â€“ a glimpse into a strange, parallel world where pre-assumed rules donâ€™t apply.
Crowded into vertiginously patterned interiors, her blank-faced figures of elegantly clad and high-heeled women sit cross-legged, stand behind counters, talk among themselves as in a ball or ponder alone, lingering in erotically charged poses as if morphing into each other in a dream fantasy that seems to take lifeâ€™s superficiality as its subject.
Survival Takes A Good Memory
Acrylic and pastel on Mylar
Four parts, overall size: 152.5 x 213 cm
In interviews Shishkin has explained that she doesnâ€™t think of her works as paintings, but strictly as drawings; she considers the colour, whether it be paint or pastels or anything else, to be a kind of filling, not defining.
But colour is a crucial element shaping the form of her pictures, laying down a neon, sugary context and constant energetic distraction from the odd nonchalance of her carnival players, as seen in the large-scale What Does It Matter To Her Ever Creating Womb If Today Matter is Flesh And Tomorrow Worms.
Not Sad, Just Sighing
Acrylic and Crayon on Mylar
12 sheets, overall size: 243.8 x 406.4 cm
Survival Takes A Good Memory, another large-scale drawing, highlights the sinuous quality of her lines and their visceral precision truly through the bold colour blocks, like a coloured-in surrealist childrenâ€™s book or Schiele on acid. Not Sad, Just Sighing depicts another oneiric performance by a familiar high society debutante cast, here even more cartoonised and claustrophobically embedded within a dizzyingly patterned gallery arcade; beyond the Dior gowns and chic pencil skirts, a desert.
Some have seen similarities between her work and the visionary, idiosyncratic action tableaux of outsider artist Henry Darger; her penchant for traditional low-brow art supplies, manneristic repetition and for phallic accessorizing (for starters, take a look at her figuresâ€™ noses and nipples) certainly reveal a similar fragility and fantastical obsessiveness.
Text by Lupe NĂąĂ±ez-FernĂˇndez