On January 30, 2020 Marywood University had a visiting artist, Yevgeniya Baras, come speak to the Art students as part of the Art Department’s Distinguished Visiting Artist Series. The artist is an abstract painter and a teacher in Brooklyn, New York. Baras shared with us much of her inspirations, from past art forms like the Venus of Hohle Fels, which is the oldest statue known to man currently today, and other artists who inspire her for color, like El Greco. She even gets inspiration from films by Tarkovski and much more.
The artist told us about how she looks to the world for inspiration and influence. Art, movies, current events, old buildings such as churches, and even fashion. “I think about dressing up my paintings,” she told us. However, one of her biggest inspiration is her students.
Besides her students, Baras keeps a small community of artists friends that she confides in to discuss artwork with. This is some great advice because, too many opinions might pollute your mind and contradict your train of thought. This is how she gets good feedback and ideas that she can trust. She is even still friends with her first art teacher. “Community is a big part of art,” she informed us. The inspiration that you may get from the people around you may play a big role in your work even if you didn’t realize that you were being influenced.
Baras works on multiple pieces at a time to keep her mind going. When she is on a residency she works on a dozen or more drawings at once. This may seem a bit crazy to most people but it keeps the mind going and you can transfer ideas between pieces and it gives you a mental break when you are stuck. “To be an artist you have to be a little nuts,” she told us with a laugh.
Sometimes she will cut out patches of canvas and sew in a different a patch of canvas or other material. Other times she might go to an area where she was working and collect multiple items from that area, like rocks, and she will incorporate them into her paintings. There are times that she uses wood to raise a section of her piece to change its aesthetic. She even takes a look at frames to see if they will enhance her paintings. Baras informed us that for one of her paintings, she stretched the bed sheets that she immigrated to America with and painted on them as a canvas. To me this is a very intimate and amazing thing to share with us. From my point of view, this takes the interest in that particular work to a whole different level.
Baras travels all over the world. When working on a residency she told us, “I get to see my work with new eyes”. She also shows in multiple Galleries around the world. At the at the moment she has a large show in Los Angeles, California with wall size works of art and murals.
With the busy lifestyle that Baras leads, she says that part of the year she becomes a hermit and tries not to look out into the world. During this time she reset her mind to do it all over again.
To learn more about this artist, visit these links: