An anastomosis is a connection- an opening of tubes, vessels, branches, often used to define surgical steps. It’s also used to define Yana Ushakova’s latest body of work. In her figures she reshapes those bodily pathways in a way that bypasses the male gaze. Inspired by her chemotherapy experience, the painted forms embody survival, restructuring, and growth.
Yana Ushakova is a cancer survivor and a Brooklyn-based painter mostly working in oils. She leans into organic and anatomical forms. Ushakova's most recent series, Autoanastomoses, is an exploration of piecing oneself together. Anastomosis is a surgical technique used to channel blood flow between parts that may otherwise be compromised. Ushakova confronts the beauty of today’s body of survival: the vulnerability, destruction, and recovery within. She turns her subjects inside out to expose their true nakedness. Ushakova strives to portray the subjects as self-possessing, perhaps discomforting to the viewer in their self-assertion, dissection, and contortion. The materials lend themselves like flesh to the canvas. The work is autobiographical, hence the “auto”-anastomoses. The “auto” in Autoanastomoses also evokes “automation” because the body’s functions are often very automatic and forgotten about until something goes wrong. The subjects are portrayed in various stages of life, health, interactions with others or self. They are mangled, tangled, dismantled, and reassembled, as people often are.