Olha Pryymak is a Ukrainian painter who has started her practice with producing one small painting a day, depicting subjects in their architectural surroundings – inhabitants of East London where she has relocated in 2008. Figures and places in Olha’s work are based on direct observation photographs the artist has taken of ordinary environments and people in them.
She feels particularly drawn to dramatically lit characters and scenes that suggest a story or a drama. In the last year these scenes have started converging into series called Love Stories that suggest a loose narrative within a group, albeit more emotionally then factually based one. Thinking through feeling in fact seems to work for her best. There is no story in the pictures really, no morale, even if they tend to be called Love Stories, they are more the natural manifestations of people and situations in everyday life. The artist notes those down in her book as they happen, which turn into quite a manuscript by the end of its life and that serves as a departure point for further work. The titles of the works, even though they seem narrative, are not prescriptive – they are quite random. They fit the painting and evocative of the mood Olha is trying to capture. It’s mostly the sounds of words and the way they came across to her instinctively that seemed most evocative of the mood in the paintings.
The practice of painting one painting each day is more of a practical issue. This was a way to develop her painting discipline and enable her to capture the energy of the image that is in her head at the time, plus at the end it reads better to as a single message to the viewer. Oftentimes this involves paying a single track or an album playing on repeat over and over again.
She got her diploma in Fine Arts from Youth Art School, Lutsk, Ukraine, in 1995. In 2012 Olha has been awarded the Bulldog Bursary in portraiture by the Royal Society of Portrait painters which she is currently incorporating into her daily practice. Olha has exhibited with the National Portrait Gallery, the Lynn Painter Stainers Prize and the Royal Academy as well as with galleries in Italy, Ukraine and England.
She currently lives and works in London, UK.