Portraits can tell us a lot about the artist who created them and the people they depict. Many artists use portraiture to explore subjects that are considered taboo. The genre provides an opportunity to closely inspect the most intimate parts of the human experience, creating a bond between the subject, artist, and audience. The sensual psychological portraits by Maryna Yukish, an artist from Ukraine, explore desire, physicality, romantic relationships, and the new roles of women in contemporary society.
Psychological Portraits by the Ukrainian Artist Maryna Yukish
Maryna Yukish was born in Ukraine. She knew she wanted to be an artist from a very young age when art helped her escape childhood fears. Yukish majored in fashion design and art education and spent ten years designing clothes before deciding to follow her passion for art in 2014.
In the work of Maryna Yukish, the appreciation and admiration of the female body is unmistakable. However, the artist goes beyond direct depictions of human flesh. While most of her psychological portraits depict bare-chested women, they are not necessarily sexual. Along with other symbolic imagery, female breasts become a symbol themselves: not completely divorced from their highly sexualized real-life context but not entirely there to satisfy carnal desire either. That is not to say that Maryna Yukish shies away from exploring sexuality in her work. In 2021, during her first solo show in Kyiv, titled “Sexhibition,” she presented her latest paintings and her original perfume line “Aromas of Sex.”
Maryna Yukish refers to herself as an artist-researcher of women’s role in society. Her work largely deals with the sexuality of women, their desires and fantasies, as well as the issues they face and the roles they take on in various social and cultural areas of life. The artist’s pieces trace how the stereotypical ideal of a perfect woman has changed over time and how it will change in the future. Yukish celebrates natural beauty and individuality while poking fun at modern-day beauty trends.
While promoting her psychological portraits is quite challenging because of censorship, Yukish does not let that influence her artistic vision. She has already had several successful exhibitions in Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Germany. The most recent of them was “Inside of Me,” which took place in Berlin in 2023 and featured twelve of her pieces, along with artworks by other artists from Germany and Ukraine.
Maryna Yukish is an incredibly prolific and inspired artist, and we look forward to her future projects and creative endeavors.