Within my practice, I create oil paintings, watercolors, sculptural objects, and digital photo-collages to focus on issues of gender, body and the self. It is about the experience of women's body and embodiment, whether erotic, abusive or metaphorical. I approach the body as a site of waste, abuse, and trauma as well as a source of vitality, desire, and pleasure.
My personal narrative informs my practice as a recent Russian immigrant in America. Since arriving to the US, I have experienced geographical and cultural displacement, problems associated with expression through language, loss of identity and a general sense of disassociation, both personally and politically. While referring to large cultural, political and historical contexts, my artwork expresses the complexity of a woman's experiences in seeking and positioning herself in a new environment.
Elena Chestnykh was born in Novosibirsk, Russia and currently, lives and works in New York. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Erarta (MCAE) in Saint-Petersburg, the Art Center WINZAVOD, in Moscow, the State Museum of Novosibirsk, Tomsk, and Kemerovo in Russia, and Nord Art 2010, Rendsburg, Germany.
In 2013, Urban Reflections traveled to MCRAE's Erarta Gallery in NYC and became Chestnykh’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Also, Chestnykh presented her work in New York at SFAprojects Gallery, The Royal Gallery, R&Dstudio BUSHWOOD, Trenton Artwork Center, NJ, and in a selected group exhibition at the School of Visual Art Gallery in Chelsea, NYC.