Anna Rolskaya’s paintings are driven by desire.
They begin with a hunger for colour. Hues litter every room of Rolskaya’s apartment-come-
studio. As she moves through her space, she will unearth a particularly alluring pigment.
Often, Rolskaya is captivated by vibrant, luminous colours such as hot pinks and florescent
‘I am missing bright colours from everything around me,’ states Rolskaya. For the artist,
these intense colours are filled with a joyful energy; ‘when I don’t have a strong, almost
acidic colour on my canvas, I feel like something is absent.’ After deciding on her first
colour, she will instinctively build a palette around it.
Rolskaya received a classical fine art education in Russia, before becoming a successful
typographer. Her Fine Art background emphasised new objectivity and precision, which she
found creatively constrictive. Rolskaya’s abstract work is a reaction against restraint, instead
emphasising joy, movement, and instinct.
Colour inspires her movement; the flow of marks building throughout her body, until she
physically attacks the canvas with paint and brush. Rolskaya, enthralled with the sensuality of
paint dances with her canvas, luxuriating in sweeping arabesques, zealous swipes of the
brush, and dynamic drips of pigment. She layers paint, building up sedimentary texture. The
artist considers each layer of paint as a part of the painting’s history, developing a narrative
After this almost hedonic application, the artist will consider the canvas, deliberating where
the draw of attention is. As a developmental tool, Rolskaya will often use images of the
painting to progress it digitally, experimenting with different colours and compositions. This
period of gestation can be lengthy, the painting clarifying itself over time. Once Rolskaya
identifies the painting’s accent, she will work to tighten everything around it.
Negative space is becoming more important to the artist’s process. Rolskaya’s instinct is to
cover her support in paint, as she enjoys the feeling of movement a completely painted
canvas provides. Now, however, she encourages negative space, finding these gaps in the
paint provide interesting pauses. Her dynamic marks and vibrant colours are tempered with
empty interruptions. This contrast of space and saturation, silence and sound, restraint and
action, makes the energy of the marks and colours even more vibrant.