My most recent work is an exploration of the relationship between people and the natural world. Humans are a part of the natural world and at the same time they are in a constant state of flux and conflict with it. We try to control nature, try to harness the power of it, and we have an impact on the planet with everything we do on a daily basis. We are in awe of natural forces beyond our control, and we are always trying to capture the wild beauty to be found in the world. The conflict between us as human beings and the forces of nature is a never ending struggle. We overpopulate, industrialize and use natural resources which changes nature in a negative way. Yet animals and plants are resilient in surprising ways, learning to adapt and survive. Sometimes we even forget that we are a part of the natural world. Ironically, what we do ultimately affects ourselves. These particular themes interest me, and my most recent paintings are a way to think this concept through, at times in a humorous manner and at other times on a more serious level.
The reason I find painting a fascinating medium is that it really poses a philosophical question. The question is about the perception of reality. What is real? It is interesting to me that a painting is a fictional space created by the artist from the imagination and yet, the viewer is asked to believe in that fictionally created two dimensional space. It is created by the artist from nothing and originates from the artist’s imagination only. Perception and recognizable image are visual games which I enjoy playing with when I am painting. For example, a realistic painting of a bird, a sketch of a bird, a silhouette of a bird, are all recognizable as a bird by the viewer and are all two dimensional representations. Within my work I am focusing on the metaphysics of depiction itself, creating a visual game for the viewer and inviting them to distinguish between different levels of reality on one surface.
At the same time, I am also fascinated by the psychological response to the images I choose to incorporate in my work, which oscillates between sentimentality and irony. I use an assortment of subject matter which I borrow from childhood memories, pop culture, illustrations, advertising, dreams, design and the technological age. Each image has a certain time and space which it is associated with. Some are from the turn of the century, while others are from the mid century, some are prehistoric and yet some are from our current time. I think that time has a different meaning in our Post Modern age. Images are recycled constantly and the availability of high quality images is immense and the production of them is quick. Time is not necessarily perceived as a straight line, but resembling more waves on the shore, moving and retreating. In my painting, I incorporate images from all different periods of time and try to depict a collage of images in response to the constant collage of my life experience.
Kira Yustak was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania on January 7, 1969. She began painting at an early age, studying art with a local artist and decided to become an artist at the age of seven years old. In 1986 she moved to New York City where she completed her B.F.A. in 1990 from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY and her M.F.A. from Hunter College, New York, NY in 1995. She has shown her work in New York City and throughout the East Coast in various group and solo exhibitions over the past several years.