Combining her Ukrainian upbringing with a creative drive inspired by the English countryside, Iryna Yermolova presents bold yet sensitive figurative studies with a confident style and striking use of light and colour. In her most recent body of work, her powerful imagery is greatly influenced by her formative years and the iconography surrounding orthodox religion; dreamlike compositions of youthful figures merge with the inner-self and ideas surrounding identity, culture and myth as well as a more personal journey, that of an artist, mother and woman.
In ‘When The Day Begins’, for example, paint is applied and scraped away revealing the distorted shadowy form of a halo-bearing child. Iryna plays with the direction of light and combines deep earthy tones with vibrant reds that anchor the canvas.
Strongly influenced by the Ukraine artist, Alina Maksimenko, Iryna also draws inspiration from Degas, Egon Schiele and Toulouse Lautrec. She refers to them as 'her masters and her teachers' as she experiments with colour and texture and an almost innate understanding of the materiality of oil paint, creating delicious tensions between the thin washes and thick impasto in her work. Iryna says,
'I love colours, I love experimenting with texture and different medias. I love my palette knife more than my brush. Subjects of my paintings are not so important for me as light, shadow, colours and composition.'
Formally trained in graphic design, it was Iryna's move to England and her love for the English countryside that inspired her to start painting full time. Her work has been featured in Dorset Life Magazine and more recently in Artists and Illustrators (January 2014). Winner of the Windsor and Newton Prize for Life Drawing Portrait in 2011, Iryna has exhibited with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters at Mall Galleries and Chianchiano Biennale, Italy in 2013. She currently lives and works in Dorset, England.