Julia Medyńska

Julia Medyńska was born in Gdańsk (PL) in 1981. Her family moved to West Berlin in 1985. After finishing highschool, Medyńska decided to move to New York, where she received her BA from Columbia University in 2013. In 2015, she earned her MFA at Columbia University (School of the Arts). Medyńska has participated in several international solo and group exhibitions and has received multiple awards. She is a two-time recipient of The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant (2020 and 2021). She moved back from New York to her birth country Poland in 2020. She lives and works in the small city of Międzyrzecz. Medyńska is currently working on solo shows, with international galleries such as Galeria ATC, Tenerife, Spain; Office Space Gallery, Salt Lake City, USA; as well as Pilipczuk Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark. We are very excited to exhibit her first Scandinavian solo show in January 2022.

In her paintings, Medyńska explores the psychology of the individual. Her inspiration and technique originate from old Renaissance and Baroque master painters. When painting, Medyńska doesn’t have a specific painter from the past in mind, but moves with liberty and confidence between the Old Masters, using her individual and contemporary take on the classical styles and techniques.

Since childhood, Medyńska has faced the struggle between the private drama versus the public persona. She was five years old when her family escaped Socialist Poland. Settled in Berlin, the five of them lived in a single room:

“My domineering grandmother, the family matriarch, was determined to fit in with the affluent Germans and hide our impoverishment. She manipulated her two daughters to climb the social ladder through a series of advantageous and abusive marriages. In order to blend in at a very prestigious private school, I learned to “put on a mask” and hide the embarrassing reality of my home life” – Julia Medyńska

Medyńska’s childhood memories have been of great influence throughout her oeuvre. She constructs her paintings as if they were a stage and she herself the film director, composing narratives from unrelated source images in order to develop an uncanny dramatic scene. She searches for “actors” either in vintage black and white photography, film stills, or in old master painting. Inspired by their body language, she invents stories:

“What attracts me to an image are lurid color temperatures and contrasting lighting scenarios. I aim for a beautiful yet ominous atmosphere, creating a world where characters inflict physical harm onto one another. I sometimes intentionally keep facial features and expressions minimal, to resist describing an identity. Instead, All my actors become archetypes, and their physical activity presents an allegory for a psychopathological world. Each painting is a horrid secret, and I can choose to lift the curtain.” – Julia Medyńska

For Medyńska’s upcoming show Queen’s Paradise, opening on the 21st of January in Pilipczuk Gallery, she will be staging a drama in a dystopian paradise with thirteen new oil paintings.

Find out more about the vernissage and exhibition here.

Julia Medyńska, The Fool, 2021, Oil on canvas, 31 x 26 cm
Julia Medyńska, La Reina, 2021, Oil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm
Julia Medyńska, The Harvest, 2021, Oil on canvas, 50 x 40cm. / Sold
Julia Medyńska, Still Life with Poultry, 2021, Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm