Gabriele Sermuksnyte (b. 1990) is a painter of the young generation. A graduate of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, she held several solo exhibitions in Lithuania and participated in group exhibitions in Lithuania and the Netherlands.
In Sermuksnyte’s large-size canvases, dramatic Baroque-style colours, quotations from the paintings of old masters and contemporary mythology of popular culture are combined. Images circulating in mass culture – cinema, fashion magazines and television – can be recognised in her paintings. The artist depicts the world of present-day princesses and their pastimes with the help of references to widely known fairy tales. The characters of Sermuksnyte’s paintings seem obviously oversaturated with material things and pleasures, and suffer from boredom. While making use of these “glossy” images, the artist ironises the constant chase for luxury and criticises immoderate consumption typical of contemporary society and ensuing psychoses, as well as the attempts to fill the inner void with various objects and decorations. In this way tension is created between an excessively decorated exterior and an empty interior. Quite often her compositions are imbued with melancholy as a kind of proof that material goods cannot bring happiness. Thus, we are driven to the conclusion that all this luxury is a mere prop, glamour is only seen on the surface, and instead of the longed-for dolce vita one often has to do with its artificial saccharine substitute.
The main characters of Sermuksnyte’s compositions are women and girls. The basic attribute of the represented women is their body. The figures of the female characters are often nude, with various decorations, and their individual body parts are eroticised. Faces are either not depicted at all, or hidden under masks or glasses, and any vestiges of emotion or character are eliminated. These are passive decorative bodies meant for wearing jewellery and designer clothes, and for filling the pages of fashion magazines. While representing the bodies as objects, the artist reflects the tendency of turning a woman into an object frequently found in visual culture, and draws attention to the feminine-related gender stereotypes existing in society.