Reviewed by Anna Spirina, 03.02.2022, Paris, France

The series of 20×20 abstract-expressionism portraits “Le jeu des femmes” is representative of Ekaterina Belukhina style, yet experimental. In it she explores the portrait composition inside a square format and the “ugliness of the beauty”. A series of portraits at first glance seems quite traditional. But upon closer examination, the obvious novelty of the techniques had been used becomes noticeable. Seemingly quite realistic images turn out to consist of large spots of intense color, sometimes turning into cubist planes of intense colour.

Vikki, painting by Ekaterina Belukhina
Vikki, 2021, by Ekaterina Belukhina

She explores the portrait composition inside a square format and the “ugliness of the beauty”.

Lifelikeness is achieved not due to illusory nature, but with help of accurately grasped and vividly conveyed essence of the person being portrayed. For a more accurate expression of this personal quintessence, the features of the models are deformed, becoming more characteristic.

At the same time, the works of the series do not turn into flashy works of expressionism, all distortions of the form are quite gentle, sometimes appearing in nuances, which, however, greatly affect the perception of the image.

The simplest poses turn out to be expressive, endowed with meaning, evoking feelings, the shades of which are so subtle that they are hardly noticed in ordinary life. This gentle attention to everyday life, revealing the diversity of its poetic facets, is supported by a bold play of color combinations.

As a result, portraits that are quite classical in technique and superficial formal features captivate the viewer, forcing them to look at them longer, the intimacy of the impression they make is combined with a sense of freedom and lightness. The depicted people are completely alive, made of flesh and blood.

It is not boring to look at them, as they “speak” to the viewer. Precisely captured features allow building an image according to not the most obvious and flashy characteristics, making it very personal and, paradoxically, collective. In each portrait, someone familiar to the viewer seems to be guessed, seen at an important, but almost forgotten moment, resurrected in memory.

Visit her Instagram page here or check out her website ekaterinabelukhina.com.

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