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I attended Nikolina Kovalenko’s Masquerade opening last week at Dacia Gallery and her works were both beautiful and thought provoking.  I met Nikolina at a gallery in the East Village for a photography show recently where she was the Sales Consultant. When I found that she was an Artist and a rather talented one I asked her to add me to her Gallery Opening invite list . Her new solo show Masquerade (July 18-August 30th) is a series of oil paintings primarily of portraits and figures based upon the “masks” that most people wear in life. The following are my favorite pieces from the show and my interpretations of them. Of note, while I couldn’t stay long and hear Nikolina speak I did get to hear her give a tour early on of her pieces so I may have been influenced and enlightened a bit by what she shared.

After the Interview -This one represents Girl Power, but instead of using comic book Pop Art archetypes Nikolina used girls smoking cigars and wearing fedoras like guys living it up. It’s based if I remember correctly by some people reactions to finding out that she travels solo sometimes and were surprised that as a women she would(which I find odd since I know a lot of women that do) engage in something they viewed as dangerous.

The Artist – It  didn’t hit me at first but this is a self portrait. She has done a number of other like works with people’s “professions” sprouting out of their heads.

Shopping for a Face – Simply shows how people are constantly looking to buy new clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, etc to change their look so people judge them by their looks versus their personality and intellect.

Red Mirror – I like this one aesthetically,  as for its meaning to me it’s women stealing looks from one another instead of just being themselves due to the onslaught of advertising created by  a certain few that determine what is beautiful and in style of the moment.

Rubik’s Cube – This one is conceptually my favorite,  a woman getting caught up trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube with major problems all around her. It shows how we fixate and get caught up on our own stupid problems that in most cases we could simply stop worrying about, put it down and deal with real people and issues.

Fishing for a Date – This one in a nutshell is a graphic representation of dating in NY and it really made me think especially of On-Line dating

What I found rather interesting is that with all the commentary in these pieces on how we judge others, how we want to be seen by others, etc these works come from an Artist that looks more like the beautiful models that pose for the ads and magazine shoots showing how we should ideally look and yet it is she who is actually wielding the brush telling the story that like the quote goes “beauty is only skin deep”. I look forward to seeing more of this up and coming Artists work.



Dacia Gallery is located at 53 Stanton Street (Open Wed -Sunday)

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