Hide and Seek
Olesya Rubeko
April 16 – May 25 2024
Triangle Gallery is pleased to announce "Hide and Seek", the first personal exhibition of paintings by Olesya Rubeko (born 1997 in Russia, lives and works in Saint Petersburg). Opening reception April 16 at 19:00. Through May 25, 2024.

Painting offers a special experience. Among modern entertainments, an encounter with a painting is a more quiet and intimate one. It resembles a meditation, an immersion into the world of the artist and, at the same time, one's own imagination, eager to follow images.

The works of Olesya Rubeko exist in this realm between reality and dreams. We see a familiar world - people, objects, scenes, but if we look closer, they start to move away, dragging us along and changing strangely, like in a dream. A bed with a sleeper turns out to be an inflatable mattress, and the river carries it away in the evening twilight. Someone dives into the pool and, at the same time, into the very weightlessness of a frozen moment. The jungles are torn apart by a waterfall, like a stream of light pouring from the other side.

Rubeko, a student of Vladimir Dubossarsky, in her own way continues the line of new figuration in Russian art. Irony and stylization remained with the previous generation, they were replaced by sincerity, poetry and new references. This style is closer to modern photography and media visuality than to the "academy" with its genres and rules. Rubeko joins the wave of contemporary figurative artists, like Hernan Bas, whose paintings are clear, mysterious, captivating for the eye and create an atmosphere. They are equally in demand at large auctions and social media feeds.

The artist's Instagram is where subjects for some of the works can be found. In a way they went through a double selection: the shots are chosen out of real life and suitable to ignite the imagination. Knowing the source makes it even more interesting how the artist interprets it. A sunny summer day fades like a memory, a boat ride turns into a drift, a crossing into the unknown. Wistful shades of green, blue, gray.

Among the books by Gaston Bachelard there is "Water and Dreams" - according to the philosopher's classification, Rubeco's imagination is clearly nourished by the element of water. This poetics is supported by painting techniques: transparent glaze strokes, ready to dissolve, unsteady forms and outlines in a single flow, like a musical theme. Canvas after canvas it is a session of healing hypnosis when we all need to escape the present at least for a while.

But Rubeko' s work goes deeper than just dreamy pictures to please the eye. The artist is a skilled colorist, her palette, often gloomy, is composed of close, muted tones. In the Bible watching dreams is regarded as a sin; water always hides a dark, dangerous depth. Anxiety stands behind fantasy, reminding us that if we run away from reality for too long, we can get lost and never find our way back.

Alexander Merekin