Luxury plays a big role in Kukula’s art and life, who once said of her subjects, “Who really knows who they are, anyway? Clothes help me decide.” We first featured her elaborate paintings of fashion obsessed pale-skinned beauties in Hi-Fructose Vol. 7, and many times on our blog, where over the years she has committed her art to capturing the beauty of Rococo and modern grandeur.
Colored pencils haven’t quite received the recognition of their counterparts as a fine art material- and yet over the years, we’ve featured artists from all over the world who have surprised us with what can be achieved by these utensils from our elementary school sets. CHG Circa in Los Angeles sent a group of international artists a set of their own and invited them to refer back to their child imagination.
Last week, we brought to you a glimpse of “Haute Debutantes”, the latest solo exhibition by HF Vol. 7 artist Kukula. We recently caught up with the Connecticut based artist to learn more about her process behind the show, who is celebrating with a reception tonight at AFA Gallery in New York. Kukula admittedly applies herself to excessive research in preparation of a new series. For “Haute Debutantes”, she poured over images of couture fashion designs and researched 18th century paintings of high class society.
We first featured Connecticut based Nataly “Kukula” Abramovitch in Hi-Fructose Vol. 7, who paints fashion obsessed pale-skinned beauties that transform into ornate objects. For her next solo exhibition “Haute Debutantes” at AFA Gallery in New York, opening September 5th, Kukula continues to explore this idea of transformation and female beauty. Her definition of a debutante, a high-class girl entering into fashionable society, is not what you might expect.
In preparations for her upcoming show “Lavish Hunger” at Art Basel this year with Corey Helford Gallery, artist Kukula invited us to visit her studio as she put the final touches on her new work. As continuations of the themes and style she presented last autumn with her solo exhibition, also at Corey Helford, her pale-skinned beauties appear literally “diseased” by their consumerist obsessions as their soft skin transforms into hard, ornate porcelain. Set in landscapes that are reminiscent of pre-revolution France, her figures appear isolated within their interiors, wearing either melancholic or apathetic expressions as their bodies transform into the exact objects of their desire. Recently transplanted to the East Coast from California this summer, her studio resides in a large sunny loft that she has filled with inspirational objects and books. Take a peek at more studio images and a preview of the new work after the jump.
Last weekend, Kukula (Nataly Abramovitch) returned to Corey Helford Gallery with her dazzling sophomore solo exhibition, ‘Lonely Opulent Things’ (previewed here.) The new paintings, Kukula’s largest works to date, reflect her love for the dark romance of French aristocracy, mannequin dolls, and high fashion.
She pointed out to Hi-Fructose how material objects and fashion originated the narrative for each decadent piece, posing subjects adorned in Chanel, Miu Miu, and YSL clothing. Inspired by a recent trip to Palace of Versailles, her underlining message lies in “the beauty of objects and how we make them parts of ourselves. At the same time, as we collect more and more beautiful things, we end up isolating ourselves behind walls of decadence.”
Upstairs, Natalie Shau adds to Kukula’s tragic femininity with her “Time Stood Still” exhibition. Shau’s surreal digital portraits combine similar elements of fashion with fairytales, her own interpretation of beauty. “Lonely Opulent Things” by Kukula exhibits at Corey Helford Gallery, Culver City, CA, from September 24 – October 15, 2011. – Caro