Artist STATEMENT & Bio

Artist Statement

My ongoing series of large paintings on paper began in 2011 with a portrait of Claude Cahun and the goal of unearthing major figures of the avant-garde. Left Bank Women, are imaginative portraits of expatriate and French women artists and writers, working in Paris in the early 20th Century.

My process begins with a literary investigation of the artist’s works, biography and memoir and with my own imagined premise, often highlighting a relationship or moment in the life of the artist. In this project and in my previous large works on paper, along with painting and hand drawing, I use a variety of patterns, such as Moroccan and Ukrainian patterning, French wallpaper and Elizabethan era design and florals, which I source from the Internet, cut, rearrange, and trace onto paper to be filled with color. In “Left Bank Women," these intricate colored patterns, help to express the biography of the subject and also inform the theme and the overall design. 


Irys Schenker received a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1997 and a Master of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in NYC in 1999. Upon graduation, she exhibited work in the first Liverpool Biennial in the UK and Kappatos Gallery in Athens, Greece. She participated in "Face Value," at White Columns in New York City in 2000, and was a guest at Yaddo in 2002. Irys has also shown at E31 Gallery, Athens, Greece, the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art in Snug Harbor and Asya Geisberg Gallery in NYC, The Jewish Museum, San Francisco, and Bronx Museum of the Arts . Her work has been reviewed in Time Out NY and The New York Times.

RECENT NEWS: Since relocating to the BayArea from NYC in 2016, Irys Schenker was selected as part of the inaugural cohort of studio residents at the 3rd Street Studios Program of the San Francisco Art Institute, October 2016. She was a resident laureate artist in Paris at
 La Cité Internationale des Arts, for the month of July 2017 and for 2 months in June and July 2018.