Artist Statement

After completing her art training in Saint Petersburg, Russia and then in London at the Saint Martin’s College of Art, Ulyana has practised as an independent artist taking part in exhibitions, projects and competitions. Ulyana is currently living and working (self-employed) in Cambridge, completing a series of paintings for a solo exhibition of her works scheduled for late 2015.

Ulyana’s work is characterised by intricate designs and technical strength. The process of constructing a painting is of prime importance to her work and becomes a research field for cross-referencing traditional and modern elements. Ulyana has been recognised for her mastery of traditional oil techniques and invited to present techniques in a series of talks at the National Gallery from 2007 to 2009. Her treatment of colour and motion creates a temporally dynamic illusion of space and depth in her paintings. The depth and attention to detail in her paintings can be traced through an artistic lineage extending to 16th- and 17th-century Flemish masters. Her mastery of traditional techniques is particularly suited to producing artwork that synthesizes the complex visual range of materials gathered during ethnographic research. As a contemporary artist, Ulyana counterbalances attention to fine detail with modern techniques inspired by the work of artists such as Francis Bacon and Gerard Richter. She uses broad gestural brushstrokes communicating emotional charge and tension and incorporates a subtle undercutting of conventions of perspective. Together, these techniques allow for the gradual emergence of layers in the work that encourage viewers to creatively analyse the painting in a variety of ways—in effect, encouraging the viewer to participate in the anthropological work of trying to make sense of images as they emerge into focus.

Before moving to Cambridge in 2009, Ulyana lived and worked in London where she prepared solo exhibitions, participated in art projects at the Tate Modern and the South London Gallery, and completed many internationals collaborations in visual and multimedia artists. She has also been the recipient of prominent awards, including the Welsh Portrait Award and National Portrait Gallery's BP Travel Award. One of her award-winning series of paintings was designed while travelling to Russia and the Ukraine to document the lives of different generations of Ukrainians and Russians from different social and cultural backgrounds. The final show of this series toured the UK, exhibiting in the National Portrait Gallery and the Aberdeen National Museum, among other locations. While in the Ukraine, Ulyana researched mural techniques and was commissioned to design and execute a mural in the Church of The Holy Shroud on Podil, a prominent example of Ukrainian Baroque architecture in the historic part of Kiev. In 2009, Ulyana was awarded the post of Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College Cambridge. She focused her residency on developing connections between researchers in Cambridge and her own creative output, producing a series of work based on images from science data and imagery that comment on modern concerns of our society such as waste and the vulnerability of the human body.