Valeria Rzianina // Canada

 

Thanks to mass media, pornography is easily accessible and raunch culture is everywhere, leading me to question the perceived hyper-sexuality of women (and men) in pornography. In a desire to determine something relevant in today’s material culture and consumer society, I explore pornography through painting. For me, painting and pornography go hand in hand, especially since both appeal directly to the senses offering the viewer sheer visual pleasure. Confused about my own feelings on smut, I suspect pornography, similar to ancient erotic art, documents, as well as perpetuates, certain myths and truths surrounding issues of sexuality, gender, and power through depictions of love-making.

My paintings are very process oriented. I cut out images from pornography magazines and collage them onto stretched canvas to create intricate compositions of intertwined bodies. Then, layer by layer, I paint over the collage, focusing on the shapes of the bodies and deleting the majority of details, such as backgrounds and accessories. Using pornography as a ground for my painting allows me to appropriate the material. In the act of choosing certain images and not others, as well as keeping shapes but losing details, I am acting like a consumer of pornography would – I keep what I like and throw out the rest. Even though pornography is the starting point for me, my paintings are not really pornographic but highly sexualized compositions using sticky sweet colours to evoke the viewers own memories of a recent romp. My finished paintings tend to be neither representational nor abstract, but the flesh and candy colour palette used to morph the collaged bodies together into an orgy of sex and body parts hints at a rather naughty narrative.

Education

2002 – 2007

Ontario College of Art and Design Bachelor of Fine Art; Drawing and Painting

1998 – 2002

Michael Power/ St. Joseph Catholic High School Graduated with Honours

Solo Exhibitions

2009

A Little Something, Good for Her, Toronto, Ontario

2007

Selected Works, Condom Shack, Toronto, Ontario

2007

Selected Works, Jupiter, Toronto, Ontario

Group Exhibitions

2010

The X and O Show, The Bait Shop Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.

2010

The Sex Show, Gallery 1313, Toronto, Ontario.

2010

mmmm…Pop!, Hang Man Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.

2009

Hi Libido 2, Gallery 1313, Toronto, Ontario.

2008

Sex & Erotica Exhibition, Gallery 1313, Toronto, Ontario.

2008

The X and O Show, The Bait Shop Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.

2008

Selected Works, Adrenaline Tattoos, Toronto, Ontario.

2007

Freaks and Other Strange Characters, Scratch Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.

2007

Big Dicks and Barbie Dolls, Spin Gallery, Toronto, Ontario.

2007

With a Little Help from My Friends, El Mocambo Tavern, Toronto, Ontario

2007

Tour de Force OCAD annual Graduate Exhibition, Toronto , Ontario

2007

Year End OCAD Retrospective Show, The Great Hall, Toronto, Ontario

2006

A Day in the Life…, Transit Space, Toronto, Ontario

2006

Bedroom Blues, XSPACE Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

2006

Ontario College of Art and Design Figurative Art Show, Toronto, Ontario

2005

OCAD Whodunit? Mystery Art Sale, Toronto, Ontario

2005

Powerful Visions Arts & Technology Art Show, Toronto, Ontario

Scholarships/Awards

2005

David L. Stevenson & Son Award and Scholarship

2002

Earla Alexander Scholarship

2002

Etobicoke Art Group Award & Scholarship

2002

Mario Gasparatto Visual Arts Award and Scholarship

Other

2009

Boobalicious, featured artist at fundraiser, Toronto, Ontario.

2009

Nuit Blanche, St. Vlad’s Community Center, Toronto, Ontario.

2008

Valeria Rzianina: Erotic Painter, featured on SexTV, episode 10-13.

2007

The Everything to Do with Sex Show, Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario