Paola Ciarska ’s Miniature Paintings of Domestic Environments

Paola Ciarska ’s work describes domestic spaces that exist somewhere between the privacy of our own home and the visibility of our social media thread or the live streams of internet webcasters. She paints portraits of 21st century women lounging in vacated homes; posing, smoking, working on laptops, checking Facebook, surrounded by artworks, domestic assemblages and images from popular culture, or paraphernalia from the worlds of BDSM, camgirls and lifecasters. Sometimes these rooms are fantasies, culled from the MTV Cribs of ‘90s US music stars, but usually they are real homes of friends, relatives and people she meets.

Paola’s works are often painted as a form of tribute to real rooms and the lives of those who live in them, visiting private houses to collect photographs of things cherished by their owners. Intimate and beautifully crafted to depict complex juxtapositions of art, clothes, pop-culture and contemporary technology, they describe an explicitly human presence: real homes connected through online social networks. As such, they present a rich narrative connecting the independence and isolation of home with the ludic expanse of cyberspace; a caring evocation of female self-love within a technologically connected world.

“Paola’s miniature drawings feature solitary female figures in beautifully intricate rooms. A Powerpuff Girls poster, a Moomin doll, Henry the Hoover and a television screening Rick and Morty bring her animated worlds to life. In Paola’s universe, women love their bodies and are proud of their sexuality. Her paintings, Paola explains, “act as universal portraits to 21st century women. She can be me but she can also be my mother, or a person sitting across from me on the bus. They try to evoke familiarity through the portrayal of intimate moments, erasing any bad conscience associated with female self-love.”

Paola Ciarska

 Words by Daphne Milner, It’s Nice That, 2018

Paola’s currently working on a solo project with Ludovit Fulla Gallery of the Slovak National Gallery and a group exhibition with Workplace Gallery in London. She recently participated in a talk entitled ‘Home Girls: An Evening of Women Redefining the Domestic Sphere’, organised by Contemporary Lynx at #Calvert22, London and features in the illustrated book ‘Off the Wall – Art of the Absurd’ published by Visionary. Her recent exhibitions include ‘Cześć, pani Ciarska’ at #IMTGallery, London (2018); ‘Coming Along Nicely’, solo exhibitions at #GlobeGallery and #Gallagher&Turner, Newcastle (2017); ‘Worried Mother’, curated by MILK at #WorkplaceGallery, Gateshead (2016); ‘Feeling Safer’, curated by Mark Jackson at #BrooklynFireproof, New York (2016); ‘Curious? Festival’ at #BamburghHouse, Newcastle (2016); and ‘BRINK’ at #BalticCentreforContemporaryArt, Gateshead, (2012). Paola has work in the Hatton Gallery collection. Paola lives and works in Gateshead.

Paola Ciarska

Paola Ciarska

Paola Ciarska

Paola Ciarska

Paola Ciarska

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