Vilte Fuller 

Strangers by the Side of the Road

September 16 - November 4, 2022

Good, good, she’s rewarding her dog verbally, 2022, oil and acrylic on canvas, 66 x 50 inches (167.6 x 127cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

Polina Berlin Gallery is pleased to present Strangers by the Side of the Road, an exhibition of new paintings by Lithuanian-born, London-based artist Vilte Fuller. On view September 16 through October 15, 2022, this marks the artist's first one-person exhibition in the United States.

As a girl, Fuller spent summers in the remote Lithuanian countryside. “There was nothing there.” In order to fill the space with something, she and her cousin would make up stories. They would also watch American movies in which aliens appear in fields of corn. Now, when Fuller paints, she first paints the canvas black, like a child looking into the dark, waiting for the afterimages burned into her retina to materialize into figures. From there, she conjures the outlines, in white, of reference images generated digitalIy, the kinds of faces and forms an AI will draw out of the well of our collective imagination. Every successive layer of oil that Fuller applies makes the painting lighter and lighter and lighter; it is impossible not to think of irradiation when faced with Fuller’s work—of a blinding nuclear dawn that leaves us with something between a memory and a hallucination.

The resulting paintings are glamorous hellscapes that lie in the uncanny valley between dystopia and nostalgia. They have a Frankenstein quality; indeed, when Fuller doesn’t have enough canvas for a big painting, she simply sews smaller pieces together to produce a sutured skin-like surface, like a patchwork quilt you’d rather leave in your grandmother’s parlor, surrounded by gruesome porcelain knickknacks and pickled vegetables. Inspired by popular culture, particularly Western film, television, and video games, her Lithuanian heritage and the country’s folklore, and Eastern European cuisine, Fuller’s practice produces images that are both historical fictions and possible futures, as much insightful dissections of our cultural imagination as they are hypnotic figurations of human psychology. She explores the Eastern Europe envisioned by the Western media and artificial intelligences alike, those landscapes visited in video games, on television, and in newspaper headlines. The Chernobyl exclusion zone, decaying Soviet brutalist architecture, superstitions and conspiracies —these are liminal territories of indeterminate coordinates that her paintings inhabit, haunted by the ghosts of genre, pulsing with what we do not know. On a Sunday in Lithuania, she tells me, parents might bring their children to a horrific sculpture park called “Hill of the Witches”; Fuller’s paintings, too, take us to a place that is both far, far away and all too familiar.

In Strangers by the Side of the Road, miasmas of blue and green roll over abandoned highways, moonlit waters, and orange sunsets. Besides being the color of aliens and pickles and toxicity, green—a fact Fuller delights in—is the color of paintings worth 25% less than average at auctions; it is also the color of the Soviet-era prisons, hospitals, and apartment interiors that, in Lithuania, have long since been painted over. In fact, the distended faces that stare out at us from deep within that color, in Fuller’s work, are more or less what one would imagine a prisoner, patient, or housewife to daydream into a wallpaper—friends and enemies grown strange, a beautiful woman and her dog, appearing, all of a sudden, like storybook characters. Looking at the paintings is an experience of dimensional polymorphism: of surfaces swelling, or maybe of objects being flattened into smears of paint. Indeed, there is a strong sense of the sculptural on Fuller’s canvases; the artist’s inspirations for Strangers by the Side of the Road included alien heads carved out of jade and the chill-inducing, dead-eyed bootleg teletubby plushies given to children in Post-Soviet countries.

Despite or because of all their overt ghoulishness, Fuller’s paintings retain a magnetic charm, a kind of child-like good humor that comes from the work of an artist who loves and cares for our nightmares as well as our favorite movies, who takes the time to re-introduce us to them. “Here we are,” the paintings seem to say, “don’t you like us?” And we do. I thought perhaps the people in the paintings might be evil, or sad, or sick — no, Fuller says, “they just exist.”

- Olivia Kan-Sperling

Vilte Fuller was born in 1996 in Klaipeda, Lithuania, and lives and works in London. She graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2015 with a degree in Fine Art: Painting and Printmaking. Fuller's work has been included in exhibitions at Niru Ratnam, London; and at superzoom and Galerie Hussenot, Paris. 

Press Release

Cultbytes- Vilte Fuller Brings Grit, Glam, and Horror to Life at Polina Berlin Gallery  

Hug me please, 2022, oil, acrylic and thread on canvas, 23 x 30 inches
(58.4 x 76.2cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

Frozen fish market on the A1, 2022, oil and acrylic on canvas, 66 x 50 inches
(167.6 x 127cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

'Kavinė Valgykla' reviews are good on TripAdvisor, 2022, oil and acrylic on canvas, 8 x 12 inches (20.3 x 30.5cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

Carrie Rudd


June 9 - July 29, 2022

EDGING!! (Light), 2022, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches, (91.4 x 122 cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

Polina Berlin Gallery is pleased to present Vitals, an exhibition of new paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Carrie Rudd. The exhibition will be on view from June 9 through July 29, 2022.

Carrie Rudd contends with oil paint in masses. Her succulent abstractions are marinated in tactile consideration, emerging out of a concern for painting’s boundaries. She labors to make the most out of her surfaces, building up and exhuming layers of paint to reveal unexpected vignettes. The resulting works are gluttonous yet considered, indexed yet frenetic.

Rudd is persistently devious, dreaming, planning, and configuring. The ideas she hatches are a springboard for her compositions; one work picks up where another leaves off. Each painting poses its own specific challenge: as she approaches a canvas, a procedure is enacted, one that implicates lyricality and measure. Rudd prods at failing systems and the body’s limits along with her own relationship with desire, shame, and self denial. She explores modes of communication and historical precedents. It’s crucial that Rudd doubles as an art historian, exhibiting a deference to the past while making a case for painting’s future.

Carrie Rudd was born in Hastings on Hudson, New York, in 1994, and completed her MFA at Hunter College in 2021. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Hunter College, Hauser & Wirth, New York, and the Wellin Museum of Art, Clinton, New York.

Press release 

BUT HE'S NOT DEAD YET, 2022, oil on canvas, 72 x 72 inches (183 x 183 cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

A Jacket is Short and a Coat is Long, 2022, oil on canvas, 84 x 60 inches,( 213.4 x 152.4 cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

Tamo Jugeli


May 3 - June 4, 2022

Untitled, 2022, liquid watercolor, oil, and acrylic emulsion on canvas, 60 x 72 inches
(152.4 x 182.9 cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

Polina Berlin Gallery is pleased to present Solitaire, an exhibition of new paintings by Georgian artist Tamo Jugeli. On view May 3 through June 4, 2022, this marks the artist’s first one-person exhibition in the United States.

Tamo Jugeli abstracts without directives, allowing intuition to guide the brush, producing gestural surfaces that are singular to her. She carves out her own space, pushing forward in alliance with her paints. Her compositions are lyrical; the figures that emerge are fortuitous and never preconceived. Forgoing themes, Jugeli commits herself to a practice driven by instinct. She turns off her analytical impulse, scavenging for what she needs as she lets go in the studio. Jugeli aligns herself with wrist and body painters, oscillating between large and small scale gestures, figuration and abstraction.

“What we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning,” notes the lauded German physicist Werner Heisenberg. Jugeli grapples with this as she deciphers her own painterly impulses; wielding a brush attuned to her own frequencies, like a divining rod in search of some elemental source. Compositions are marked by equivocality; a dog emerges or maybe it’s a bird or a cloud or not a shape but a series of lines that become a form by incident and then encounter.

Jugeli falls in line with John Graham’s musings on abstraction and the artist’s role. She pushes her paintings forward, “into the future or what is the ultimate logical destination of the given object in terms of form.” Abstraction is painting in its “highest” and “most difficult” form as “it requires of the artist the ability to take full stock of reality and the ability to make a departure from it,” postulates Graham. Jugeli studies her surroundings, meditates upon happenstance until she has observed and mastered a space, then moves on to the next.

This exhibition marks Jugeli’s first time working with specialized watercolors — new materials that the artist glides like velvet stains onto the canvas’s surface. Jugeli’s newest body of work is also shaped in part by the landscape of New York. Having spent the past two months in the city, her toolbox is brimming with new images and objects. Her propensity for experimentation begets a practice that remains resolutely unstatic. She loathes permanence, the “plan” is no plan at all. Flat. Raw. Fast. These works open out to the world much like Jugeli herself.

Tamo Jugeli was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1994. Jugeli’s work has been included in exhibitions at Gallery Artbeat and TBC Concept, Tbilisi; Svaneti Museum of History and Ethnography, Mestia; among others.

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Untitled, 2022, liquid watercolor, oil, and acrylic emulsion on canvas, 60 x 60 inches (152.4 x 152.4 cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

Untitled, 2022, oil and gesso on board, 15 x 20 inches (38.1 x 50.8 cm) / Photo: Steven Probert

Emotional Intelligence

February 22 - April 23, 2022

Shannon Cartier Lucy, Brice Guilbert, Loie Hollowell, Tamo Jugeli, Jo Messer, Hanae Moreno-Niimi, Justine Neuberger, Alison Peery, Carrie Rudd, Markeidric Walker

Polina Berlin Gallery is pleased to announce Emotional Intelligence, a group exhibition opening February 22, 2022, marking the gallery’s inaugural exhibition at 165 East 64th Street.

The term “emotional intelligence” entered the collective consciousness in 1995 to describe the capacity to perceive and understand emotions and use them to steer thinking and behavior. Forgoing the systems-based, data harvesting approach to deciphering meaning, Emotional Intelligence brings together ten artists mining new tropes at the intersection of abstraction and figuration. Ebullient, poignant, and at times confounding, the works included represent a plodding forth, a pushing, and a ripening. Through the process of examining, obscuring, and revealing, heightened emotional states are leveraged to extract fresh modes of representation and probe understanding.

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