Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, and now based in Montreal, Iryna Merkulova completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (with Distinction) in 2021 at Concordia University. Her studio practice is mainly focused on painting and drawing with occasional work in video and other media.
In her work, Iryna Merkulova’s aim is to explore the social, political, and natural processes in contemporary society through the prism of a woman’s mind. “Through my paintings of seemingly ordinary, everyday objects, I wish to investigate deeper issues related to the place of women in the society, communal urban living, consumerism, and sustainability,” she says. “I often use personal memories as the entry point into my visual narratives creating an open space that challenges and comforts the viewer through distant togetherness.”
Her current project Blind Contour, which will be exhibited in a solo exhibition at Sivarulrasa Gallery in Spring 2023, explores urban neighbourhoods in Montreal, drawing attention to the idea of making existing urban spaces more humane and enjoyable. The paintings will require the viewer to slow down their eyes’ journey and pay attention to every detail of the objects and places depicted. The imagery will play with the viewer’s memory and imagination and provide a mechanism for mental escape, encouraging viewers to re-discover their surroundings.
Iryna Merkulova’s works have been exhibited in Montreal and Toronto, and are held in many private collections. In 2022, she received a Research and Creation Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.