If Anastasiya Tarasenko's mix of morbid and merry commentary isn’t enough to win you over, her ingenious use of materials will tip the scales. Politics, religion, sex and moral standards are all fair game and outed in full force in her New York solo debut on view at Monya Rowe Gallery through January 9, 2021. A bevy of fascinating small works that she deems “social critiques on the impact of the hidden hypocrisies ubiquitous in our culture,” collectively serve as clues to the big picture.

Built from resin clay on copper panels, then painted with oil, the new suite of works features rich, elaborate textures that magnify surreal, fantastical imagery and venture beyond framed borders into sculpture.  Tension and complexity within each vignette builds a narrative inspired by comics and marketing campaigns, which the Ukranian born artists uses to target her messages with direct impact.  The immediacy of such familiar visual language rockets you into an unexpected, but thought provoking ride. 

A comfortable feminist Tarasenko taunts and tells with with possibly uncomfortable imagery and sexuaity.  Headless female figures of objectified women and men in business suits of authority are surrounded by pervasive, clever rats who reference unstoppable societal forces.  “In some ways, I’m trying to reverse engineer the indoctrination,” the artist comments about her work. Simple, punchy aesthetics that borrow elements of DIY culture, comics, propaganda posters, post-WW2 advertising, and even product packaging, all inspire Tarasenko to examine stereotypes and induce us to examine our own roles in indoctrination and exploitation. Sometimes the absurd is the only path to enlightenment.  —Sasha Bogojev