Dasha Shishkin

Dasha Shishkin
What Does It Matter To Her Ever Creating Womb If Today Matter Is Flesh And Tomorrow Worms, 2012
Mixed media on Mylar
152.4 x 213.4 cm

Driven by line, Dasha Shishkin’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 – a glimpse into a strange, parallel world where pre-assumed rules don’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 life’s superficiality as its subject.

Dasha Shishkin
Survival Takes A Good Memory, 2012
Acrylic and pastel on Mylar
Four parts, overall size: 152.5 x 213 cm

In interviews Shishkin has explained that she doesn’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.

Dasha Shishkin
Not Sad, Just Sighing, 2012
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 children’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 figures’ noses and nipples) certainly reveal a similar fragility and fantastical obsessiveness.

Text by Lupe Nùñez-Fernández


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