Silvia Russel (b. 1969 in Nijmegen, NL) lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and New York City. Her work has been shown at Gallery MC and White Box in New York and internationally at the Architectural Biennale in Venice, and Cell Project Space in London, UK, amongst others. She has had numerous solo and group shows in the Netherlands at venues such as Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NAI, Rotterdam, Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo, and Sanquin and Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam. Russel has received commissions for permanent art installations in public and private spaces in the Netherlands. She has also received numerous grants and awards from the Amsterdam Foundation for the Arts, and The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture to name a few. Together with LMAKprojects, Silvia Russel published "Borough(ed) Stories" in 2009. Her work has been reviewed in major Dutch newspapers and art magazines.
Feminist Artist Statement
My work is founded in the correspondence and contact with people and their reaction to and engagement with cultural rules within society. I usually work with women as I feel I can better relate to their dilemmas. I base my drawings upon the relationship that develops as women relay their life stories to me. My approach to my subjects varies; it may be as direct as engaging in a conversation on the street or through workshops at community centers. These conversations usually begin with a questions about their household and their stance within the world. As they relay their position in life and the psychological effect it has on their sense of being, I frequently ask them to draw their experiences, as to get a more rounded picture of who they are and get a better understanding of their background. Using this information as well as my experience in the encounter, I begin my drawings. I look for points that stood out to me during our exchange, as I assemble their experience into small drawings and then, as I make the experience my own, I commence to work on the large drawings. I usually show my drawings along side the drawings of the woman I have encountered, and within a public setting in the neighborhood, as I feel that it brings a context to the work, as well as an understanding of the subject. Usually after showing in this setting, I show my work separately at a gallery or museum, which in turn allows me to review the value of the image without the original context, revealing the layers within my work.
View Silvia Russell's CV (PDF)