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Paola Ciarska

Work / Art

Paola Ciarska’s detailed drawings explore voyeurism in a social media-dominated world

Paola Ciarska is a Polish painter whose colourful, detailed drawings depict nude women going about their daily lives in the intimacy of their rooms. Her paintings are clearly the work of a skilled artist but Paola’s creative path is an unconventional one and reveals a spontaneous talent: “I decided to go away for a few months and to cut myself off from the outside world. I found some old gouache paints and a tiny eyeliner brush in my makeup bag. I sat on my grandmother’s veranda and painted the first thing that came to my head. That’s how my first girl was born,” the artist tells It’s Nice That. 

Paola’s miniature drawings feature solitary female figures in beautifully intricate rooms. A Powerpuff Girls poster, a Moomin doll, Henry the Hoover and a television screening Rick and Morty bring her animated worlds to life. In Paola’s universe, women love their bodies and are proud of their sexuality. Her paintings, Paola explains, “act as universal portraits to 21st century women. She can be me but she can also be my mother, or a person sitting across from me on the bus. They try to evoke familiarity through the portrayal of intimate moments, erasing any bad conscience associated with female self-love.” Depictions of unmade beds and dirty dishes lend her art an accessibility that invites every woman to identify with her illustrated figures through the mundane details of everyday life.

Paola’s women inhabit a world similar to ours where Instagram Stories and Facebook likes are high on the social agenda. Over-sharing our lives on social media subjects every user to other people’s voyeurism. It is this phenomenon Paola’s paintings point to. Many of the girls in her drawings hold selfie sticks, snapping or filming themselves in their private spaces. “My paintings inform us that we’re never entirely alone, but they don’t dictate in what way or what that really means,” Paola tells us. Self-doubt and body-consciousness have no place in Paola’s paintings. But by removing the bedroom walls, the artist places us on the other side of the camera phone; as these women expose themselves to the world, we are already peeping in. 

Paola’s work is currently on display at IMT Gallery.

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Paola Ciarska

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Paola Ciarska