'Summer Queen' by Jana Brike

Using the traditional medium of oil painting on canvas, Jana Brike‘s art focuses on the human soul – dreams, longing, love, pain, the vast range of emotions that we all go through and how we grow from our experiences.

Growing up under Soviet occupation had a profound effect on everything from Brike’s work ethic to her subject matter and aesthetic sensibilities. A self-described “reclusive and dreamy child”, Brike showed burgeoning talent at a very young age. By 15 years old she was participating in international exhibitions, later going on to receive her Master of Arts degree from the Art Academy of Latvia in 2005.

Her surreal and haunting imagery is informed by everything from Russian Realism and Soviet animation to her Grandmother’s religious postcards featuring biblical works of the European masters. Her subject matter is culled from folklore, fairytales and children’s book illustrations. The subjects of her oil paintings embody a fantastical quality, illustrating what Brike viewed as the “forbidden…imagery of Western pop culture” which took on a “mystical, almost religious tone for Soviet children.”

'A Way to the Other Side' by Jana Brike

‘A Way to the Other Side’ by Jana Brike

'Girl Inside Out' by Jana Brike

‘Girl Inside Out’ by Jana Brike

'Little Death Laid Bare and Maiden Fair' by Jana Brike

‘Little Death Laid Bare and Maiden Fair’ by Jana Brike

Brike’s latest series, Soulsearching, is to go on display at Downtown Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery this August. She says: “Through exploring what femininity means to me and transcending the darkness of some personal life experiences, I create paintings that are autobiographical, in the form of visual poems that are about connection to your own body, to your own soul, and to your own path, about numinous quality of everyday life and of nature, about exploration and curiosity for the most natural things to all living things.

“Life and death, and rebirth and life after death create an important cycle and theme in these paintings. As does ecstasy, the shining of the pure joy of living. Mysticism, magic, and dreams are mixed with ‘real’ life in an inseparable entanglement. It is all a Soulsearching – shifting through your own mysterious depths in search for your truest self and your own replies to life’s most important questions.”

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

She adds, “To me, painting is a strange medium, where countless hours, days, weeks, sometimes even years of constant energy flow and dedicated work are used to depict one single frozen moment in time.

“This time and energy is my personal Soulsearching time. That alone can give that metaphysical feeling of a window into a world where time just flows differently and one second of the protagonist’s time is a million years in our reality.”

Soulsearching opens 10 August at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles.

Creative Boom Go to Source

Katy Cowan

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