As a youth, Galina Perova possessed an unusual artistic talent. She studied painting at an early age, eventually attending an art school for gifted students in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Upon graduation she moved to St. Petersburg, where she started working with the internationally recognized artist and educator E.E. Moiseinko, who admired her artistic talent and her curiosity for life. At his urging, she applied to the prestigous Repin Academy of Art in St. Petersburg and, after competing with over a thousand other students for the few postions avaliable, was accepted. After a rigorous and comprehensive program of study, she recieved her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1985 and her doctorate in 1989, graduating at the top of her class. Her work was praised in the May, 1988 issue of the art and literature monthly magazine NEVA.
It described her as, "an artist who is always searching", and her paintings as being, "full of drama, irony, emotion and analytical concepts". Though receiving much critical acclaim for her work in Russia, she determined to pursue life in the West and in 1989, moved to the United States. Since her arrival, she has received numerous public and private commissions and has exhibited her work extensively.
The style of her work continues to focus on realism, exploring the themes of landscape, still life, portraiture and the figure in a social context. Her works reveal a sense of place and time, incorporating the elements of design, balance, light and color. Viewing her paintings we are aware of the maturity and commitment of the artist who made them. There is a strong connection between the painting and the life experience it is drawn from. She has stated that painting is the integral center of her life, the activity that gives her joy and suffering. "If I stop painting" she states, "I will stop living." All good art requires this kind of commitment and serves as a reference back to the artist's life. Galina's work grows directly from the cumulative experience of her life, paintings that we feel as well as see. Perhaps that is why we can enter her paintings so easily, and access the subject on a personal level, whether it is a portrait of her grandmother, the snow covered roofs of a Russian winter, a still life of flowers, or figures on a subway car. The viewer is always left with a sense of time and place.
"The Subway Car", painted in 1986, is an example of her ability to create a dynamic narrative of the figure in a social context. It is a deceptivly simple image; people preoccupied with their own thoughts, yet sharing the common space of the subway. It is a situation perhaps repeated daily, the anonymous voyage that each person makes, a shared but separate experiance.
The paintings of constructed still life's are Perova's most painterly works, drawing on her years of training as an artist. She chooses common objects, fruits, vegetables, flowers, items from her studio and her domestic life. The still life as genre, and these objects as still life are not new. They have a long tradition in the history of art and continue to be a source for investigation in contemporary art.
Perova is able to capture the perfect moment, revealing the inherent beauty of surface, shape and color of the object depicted. In a time dominated by images of a constantly shifting consumer culture, Galina Perova's works are like precious jewels, unique and infused with time, fruit just picked, objects clearly seen.
- Joseph Marotta