Daria Birang’s paintings are a recent development in her artistic practice, after years of working with the medium of photography. Her canvasses can be collages taken from shots from her own daily life: friends, acquaintances, and especially her children are the protagonists of the artist’s work. The influence of photography is still palpable, not only in the direct and uncut nature of the subject matter, but also in the precision of the painting technique, the meticulous technicality of the details and the refined interplay of dark and light, reminiscent of the rigour of photography. The realism of the style is coupled with unusually bright colors, oddly vivid, in scenarios of otherwordly nature. Even if slightly uncomfortable, the paintings are alive, not just because of the centrality of the figurative subjects but also because of the sense they deliver: the realistic yet weird positions of the bodies, the extremely close perspective and the fleshy presence of naked skin convey a feeling of profound viscerality, of beating life. The contorting posture of a child or the huge eyes that pierce through the canvas make room for nothing but them: they are here, incredibly present, confronting us with their humanity in an inescapable way, with an individual strength seen before in the work by greatest painters of the human such as Antonello da Messina. The element of life is what stays over, lingering through the series as a whole, immense in its power.
Daria Birang (Boston) studied at the SMFA of Boston and later obtained her BFA in the arts at the AKI (Enschede). Birang worked extensively in the field of photography in NYC (2000 – 2007) and Italy (2007-2020) as a photobook maker, editor, curator and collage artist with photographers as Inez and Vinoodh, Leonard Freed, Paolo Pellerin, Alex Majaoli, Moises Saman and others. For the last two years Birang has been focused on painting. Her practice centers around her own life as a single mother and the universe that is within her reach, mostly her children.
-Text by Sara van Bussel