Tamo Jugeli


April 18 - May 20, 2023

Untitled, 2023, oil on canvas, 60x72 inches, 152.4 x 182.8 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Polina Berlin Gallery is pleased to present …lightly, an exhibition of new paintings by Georgian artist Tamo Jugeli. On view from April 18 through May 20, 2023, this marks the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.

The show takes its title from the text of Aldous Huxley’s poem, “Island”:

    So throw away your baggage and go forward.
    There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
    trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
    That’s why you must walk so lightly.

As a self-taught artist, Jugeli is utterly self-possessed, resisting allusion. Jugeli has created an idiom all her own—one that pushes beyond symbols and narrative to carve out her own sense of self in space. Her compositions are lyrical, figures are fortuitous, never preconceived. Her work is at once immediately recognizable yet totally inscrutable. Forgoing themes, Jugeli commits herself to a practice driven by instinct. Jugeli aligns herself with wrist and body painters, oscillating between large and small scale paintings, figuration and abstraction. The show consists of 12 paintings, some on board, some on canvas, each one an exploration of color and form that Jugeli creates without preparatory work.

Her painting is propulsed by spontaneity, and a sort of Apollonian creation that recalls Rainer Maria Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus, in which a tree of sound stuns and awes with its unheralded appearance. No introduction is necessary; the connection to the viewer is instant and primal. And, as in the Rilke poems, figures do appear in sudden, scattershot fashion—a vaguely animal figure, or a mysterious statue on a plinth—their meaning as obscure to the creator as their presence is obvious to their audience. Jugeli’s paintings record a sort of transmission as involuntary as it is devoid of guile or agenda.

As she put it: “Process is my high, not the result.” Rather than leaning towards full abstraction or figurative moments, she strives for a playful golden medium of “suggestions of shapes—showing something but not fully.” She revels in that tease. For the same reason, she forgoes titles, finding them precious. However, she allows for the possibility that “maybe over time [she] will connect or reconnect” with the original impulse behind a painting and that might yield a title.

For Jugeli, painting was born of a raw instinct. Having spent some time in New York over the past year where she has set up a temporary studio, Jugeli is a native of Georgia born shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. She did not take up her artistic practice until she was in her early 20s, while making a living as a journalist and editor. Working through a tough period, she started to draw therapeutically, on her own. As she gave into her instinct toward gesture and creation, she felt alive. Once she transitioned to oil paints, she became better able to mediate the process that overtook her, and saw her painting practice as a form of thinking, heeding Rilke’s famous dictum: “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

Jugeli does not feel a Georgian influence comes across in the paintings, but is certain her childhood spent there is why she paints. Although the USSR had collapsed a few years prior to her birth, she found her existence clouded by a persistent claustrophobia, and a severe restriction of movement. As a child and teenager, she dreamed of finding a way out to have an identity that was simply human, and not marked by a place she longed to leave. She cultivated a vibrant internal life and sees her maturation as a matter of coming out of that self, letting instinct be her teacher and exploding outward into her artistic practice.

Jugeli’s paintings trace the dance steps between abstraction, figuration, and transcendence. This transcendental urge speaks to a sort of perseverance, a faith that there is something on the other side, and a need to keep oneself pushing forward to whatever that may be—identity, revelation, or simply the strength to endure. As Huxley closed out his poem:

    Lightly my darling,
    on tiptoes and no luggage,
    not even a sponge bag,
    completely unencumbered.

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

Press Release

Artsy | Tamo Jugeli | 10 Must-See Shows during New York Art Week 2023: Tamo Jugeli ...lightly

Artforum | Tamo Jugeli | Must See: Tamo Jugeli ...lightly

Untitled, 2023, oil on canvas,72 x 60 inches
182.8 x 152.4 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Untitled, 2023, oil on canvas, 50 x 66 inches
127 x 167.6 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Untitled, 2022, oil on gessobord, 24 x 31 inches
60.9 x 78.7 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Untitled, 2023, oil on canvas, 66 x 50 inches
167.6 x 127 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Carrie Rudd

Vitals II

March 7 - April 8, 2023 

UNTIL IT IS NO LONGER ARBITRARY, 2022, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches
121.9 x 91.4 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Polina Berlin Gallery is pleased to present Vitals II, an exhibition of new paintings by American artist Carrie Rudd. On view from March 7 through April 8, 2023, the show is the second chapter of the artist’s two-part exhibition.

Rudd’s painting practice is deeply engaged with the possibilities of abstraction. Resistant to easy categorization, she actively synthesizes her thoughts as she handles paint on canvas: painting through to understand what she is painting, assigning frameworks for an idea within a deliberate compositional state. Hinging on a play of space and the physical manifestation of a thought process, the result bursts with fevered energy. Oil paint is applied, scraped off, and redoubled to conjure a quicksilver quality—flashes of light and motion reminiscent of a Stan Brakhage film.

With Vitals II, Rudd revisits the content of the first body of work made for this two-part exhibition. Referencing photographs of the many stages of her earlier paintings, she uses these formative iterations of the same idea to create a sense of pushing and pulling through; a sort of dialogue with herself that she leaves the viewer to make sense of. Eschewing anything literal or linear, Rudd subverts expectations and aims to surprise herself as she paints, coming against that initial mystery of an idea and the urge to create something that never asked to be born.

At the same time, however, her work accepts the episodic nature of art. By yielding to the truth that one painting can’t do everything, Rudd finds freedom to ramble wildly and explore. Hers is a search for unresolved notes and loose threads that she can follow onto the next and the next after that, never sure where she is being taken. In this respect, her works bridge a dialogue with painters such as Joan Mitchell, Charline von Heyl, and Rochelle Feinstein. All are artists who allowed space in their art for spontaneity to derail the original intention of a given work and, as Rudd herself puts it, to set out with the “hope each painting transcends the original impetus for the painting.” 

Fundamentally, Rudd sees painting as neither a catharsis nor a solution: to her, it is an intense undertaking that is as analytical as it is emotional. While she always handles paint in her particular way, as she works, she incorporates things she has read or seen as she works through her ideas and explores the possibilities of oil paint in tandem. The objective is to convey ideas about living that are conceptually rather than aesthetically driven. Her canvases communicate notions that are in flux and developing. She strives to create spaces where people can think, rather than telling them what to think—places of intellectual openness and experimentation. She illustrates how an idea becomes a thing.

Rudd’s mission to find and portray her own multifaceted voice from scratch in every canvas marks an almost quixotic quest. She posits creation as an act of relinquishing control. When her paintings are put before an audience, they are placed there with her understanding that she is vulnerable to being misunderstood and incapable of controlling any person’s interpretation of her work—and that this is the price of entry to any larger conversation.

- Cara Marsh Sheffler

Carrie Rudd was born in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York in 1994. She 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

BOMB Magazine - Carrie Rudd Interviewed by Annabel Keenan

You Fuck With Her, I Fuck With You and Make You Watch, 2022, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches
152.4 x 152.4 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Word Alert! Decorticate, 2023, oil on panel, 16 x 16 inches
40.6 x 40.6 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

"I (still) think it's just always and forever haha", 2022, oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches
121.9 x 91.4 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Maybe There Just Is No Happy Middle Ground, 2023, oil on canvas, 54 x 48 inches
137.2 x 121.9 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Parmen Daushvili


February 7 - March 4, 2023

Titian I, 2022, oil on canvas, 32 x 32 inches
81.3 x 81.3 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Polina Berlin Gallery is pleased to announce Novela, an exhibition of paintings by self-taught Georgian artist Parmen Daushvili. On view from February 7 through March 4, 2023, this marks the artist’s first one-person exhibition.

Lithe and loosely rendered, Daushvili’s introspective portraits and atmospheric interiors draw inspiration from his immediate surroundings: the cool, oblique London light that floods his beige and muted green flat; passers-by on his street; acquaintances and members of his immediate family. Architectural details wander from painting to painting, gaining a symbolic gravity as his compositions are subjected to an ever harsher painterly process of reduction.

Daushvili’s paintings are survivors of their own making. Many of his works are over-painted, scraped, sanded, re-painted and transformed. The palette is somber and measured, evoking at times mid 20th century modern British and American masterworks by Milton Avery, LS Lowry and David Hockney. He is economical with his brushwork and the resulting pictures possess a quiet intensity; a sense of yearning and grappling; a hopefulness and uneasiness.

The artist began painting as a pastime in 2003, but chose to be a full time painter after fleeing to the United Kingdom from Tbilisi, Georgia soon after the Russian occupation in 2008. Having foregone the English language in favor of painting, his immediate family members helped him set up a modest presence on social media as a means of making a livelihood by painting portrait commissions. Only very occasionally and most recently has he shared his private works, made solely for himself. These works comprise Novela.

Parmen Daushvili (b. 1970, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia) lives and works in London. His work has been included in the annual exhibitions of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. He was selected for inclusion in the BP Portrait Award in 2014, 2019 and 2020 at London’s National Portrait Gallery.  

Press Release

Air Mail | Parmen Daushvili | Parmen Daushvili: Novela   

Revue Eclipse | Parmen Daushvili | Polina & Parmen

Revue Eclipse | Polina Berlin | Interview with Polina Berlin

Artforum | Parmen Daushvili | Must See: Parmen Daushvili Novela

Bicycle Kick, 2019, oil on canvas, 83 7/8 x 66 inches
213 x 167.6 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Yucca, 2021, oil on canvas, 83 7/8 x 66 1/8 inches
213 x 168 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Me and My Son (Isle of Dogs), 2019-2020, oil on canvas, 83 7/8 x 66 1/8 inches
213 x 168 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Clutch, 2022, oil on canvas,18 x 18 inches
45.7 x 45.7 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Ann Gillen

Toward Civic Art

November 17, 2022 - January 28, 2023

Maquette for Flying Red, 1973, sheet aluminum, 4 x 4 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches
10 x 11.4 x 16.5 cm, (dimensions including base 5 1/4 x 11 1/2 x 7 3/4 inches,13.3 x 29.2 x 19.7) / Photo: Steven Probert

Polina Berlin Gallery is pleased to present Toward Civic Art, an exhibition of sculpture by American artist Ann Gillen. On view from November 17, 2022 through January 14, 2023 and co-curated by Miles Huston, this marks the artist's first one-person gallery exhibition in twenty years.

Over the course of more than five decades, Gillen’s prodigious artistic output has encompassed sculpture, drawing, design, print-making, and book-making. Her process employs material translations, iterative distortions, and scalar transformations similarly found in architectural planning. Concerned with structure, construction, and scalability, her sculpture practice has taken shape in monumental and intimate scales; with works realized in a wide variety of materials. Toward Civic Art investigates the numerous civic projects envisaged and carried out by Gillen throughout her career.

Everywhere in Gillen’s work there is a constant choreography of folding and unfolding, leaping and coloring, of holes filled by light and planes drawn by shadows. The artist makes use of geometric forms, of line and planes, gravity and axial relationships to configure works that highlight their making. Structural decisions are also aesthetic ones. Her sculptures are first developed as a maquette, sometimes articulated in sheet metal or cardboard or made as a loose three-dimensional paper sketch. The full size construction follows: forms are cut from planar materials; plywood, metal, or stone; and color is used to delineate relationships between them.

Gillen approaches the parameters of creating sculpture meant to exist in the world as a context or reality with which to engage. “For a sculptor, the artwork begins with needing to get it through the door,” she says. “I revel in showing in real spaces with people walking by and with the vagaries of weather, daylight changes, site effects.” Her consideration of siting, environment, and conservation are the cornerstones of her process. This sensibility cements her as an eminently civic and social artist. Her work fulfills the call expressed by the 1970 essay, by Hungarian artist and theorist Gyorgy Kepes, from which Toward Civic Art takes its title: to make art that develops “consciousness of social interdependence, and builds the sense of living freely according to ways in which everything fits together.” Gillen’s studies at the Pratt Institute, where she practiced the Bauhaus exercises of material, taught her the attributes of structure and medium that to this day inform her work.

The artist’s prolific practice draws upon a wide range of inspiration: from the women’s art movement of the 60s, to the Black Mountain poets, to older traditions; notably those that depicted bodies and imagery throughout public space. The frieze at the Parthenon, the reliefs bordering Buddhist stupas, and the façades of the Italian Baroque all find themselves refigured in her work. Her sculptures, often conceived to stand alone and as part of a series, convey a quiet harmony between individual and group.

Gillen forged a singular path and made the civic realm a home for her work. By the 1960s and 70s, her interest in Bauhaus principles and aesthetics was met with indifference by an art world saturated first by Abstract Expressionism and, later, Minimalism. The abiding sexism that followed her career as a sculptor posed another obstacle. Still, she achieved notable success functioning largely outside the traditional commercial gallery system, exhibiting through commissions in New York City and its environs. To date, Gillen has completed thirty public, private, and corporate commissions. Her myriad maquettes and proposals reveal the ingenuity and nimbleness that competing for public and corporate commissions required of her.

In her Soho studio, where Gillen has worked for nearly four decades, new proposals are waiting to be realized: a humble piece of paper pierced with wire is transmuted into tiny reclining figures by the seaside. And further uptown, her exuberant Flying Red, installed in 1987, stands triumphantly on 55th Street and Third Avenue, not far from this gallery.

Ann Gillen (b. 1935, Washington, D.C.) has lived and worked in Manhattan since 1959. Her sculptures have been installed in public parks in every borough of the city; in galleries, her work has been shown in twenty one-person and sixty-one group shows, and is included in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Fogg Art Museum, the Tibor de Nagy Collection, the Pierre Matisse Collection, and the collection of Mildred Constantin. Her public, private, and corporate commissions have included sculptures, murals and reliefs designed for the ice-skating pavilion of the XIII Winter Olympics in Lake Placid (1980), the garage at Lincoln Center Plaza (1994), and a stairwell of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism (2007).

This exhibition is dedicated to artist, writer, curator, and gallerist Jenni Crain for befriending Ann and introducing us to her work.

Press release 

New York Times - Ann Gillen: Sculpting in Plain Sight

Art News - Breakfast with ArtNews | The Digest

Point Figure (with color), 1995, aluminum, 16 1/2 x 19 1/4 x 12 1/2 inches, 
41.9 x 48.9 x 31.7 cm / Photo: Steven Probert

Study for a Tower, 1984, sheet aluminum and enamel oil paint, 15 x 12 x 6 inches
38 x 30.5 x 15.2 cm/ Photo: Steven Probert

Cylinder, 1977, sheet aluminum and paper, 8 1/4 x 6 7/8 x 6 7/8 inches
30 x 17.5 x 17.5 cm/ Photo: Steven Probert

Study for Newark Airport, 1979, aluminum, 12 1/4 x 21 1/4 x 8 inches
31.1 x 54 x 20.3 cm, (dimensions including base 14 x 22 3/8 x 11 1/8 inches, 35.6 x 56.8 x 28.3 cm)/ Photo: Steven Probert

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