Julia Medynska

Based Berlin, Germany
Julia Medynska


My painting explores the psychology of the individual. My recent painting, has expanded from individual portraits to large scale narratives. I compose environments where characters engage in violent acts while apathetic bystanders witness the macabre scene. Since childhood, I have faced the struggle between the private drama versus the public persona. I was five years old when my family escaped Poland. Settled in Berlin, the five of us lived in a single room. My domineering grandmother, the family matriarch, was determined to fit in with the affluent Germans and hide our impoverishment. She manipulated her two daughters to climb the social ladder through a series of advantageous and abusive marriages. In order to blend in at a very prestigious private school, I learned to "put on a mask" and hide the embarrassing reality of my home life. In my paintings, I see myself as a film director composing narratives from unrelated source images to develop an uncanny dramatic scene. I search for my “actors” either in vintage black and white photography or film stills. Inspired by their body language, I invent a story. Its setting is either taken from a 19th century landscape painting or a film still. What attracts me to an image are lurid color temperatures and contrasting lighting scenarios. I aim for a beautiful yet ominous atmosphere, creating a world where characters inflict physical harm onto one another. I intentionally keep facial features and expressions minimal to resist describing an identity. Instead the actors become archetypes and their physical activity an allegory for a psychopathological world. Each painting is a horrid secret where I can choose to lift the curtain.


2017 MFA Columbia University, New York
2013 BA Columbia University, New York

Selected Exhibitions & Awards

Solo Exhibitions: 2021
School Gallery, London, UK

Group Exhibitions: 2018
The Visible Light, Menier Gallery, London, UK 2017
MFA Thesis Show, The Wallach Gallery, Columbia University, New York, NY 2017
MFA Summer Show, False Flag, Queens, NY 2016
Finished Goods Warehouse, 630 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 2015
MFA First Year Show, The Wallach Gallery, Columbia University, New York, NY Floating Point, Judith Charles Gallery, New York, NY People who need People, 7 Dunham, Brooklyn, NY 2013 Floaters, The Leroy Neiman Gallery , New York, NY 2012 Columbia Summer Painting Intensive,The Leroy Neiman Gallery, New York, NY

2020 The Elizabeth Greeshields Foundation Grant Recipient
2020 Shortlisted Jacksons Painting Prize
2020 Shortlisted RA Summer Exhibition, London, UK
2017 Rema Hort Mann Foundation, Emerging Artist Grant Nominee, NY, NY



New American Paintings MFA edition 2020


  • Award winning
  • Internationally exhibited

Purchase artwork by Julia Medynska

  • Achievements & Goals

    • Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award
    • New American Paintings Publication
    • Master's Degree
  • Genre & Style

    • Figurative painting
    • Psychological portraits
    • Dark narrative painting
  • Inspiration & Vision

    • Evocative lighting
    • Vintage photography
    • Baroque painting

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