Painter Valeri Larko extracts pristine beauty from urban landscapes.
“I see beauty in things that other people might overlook,” she said.
Larko paints en plein air, which means she works outside, on location, to capture the Bronx’s rugged beauty. Larko’s work is currently on display at Sugarlift, a gallery under the High Line; the exhibit is titled “Hidden in Plain Sight.”
A keen observer, Larko focuses on light and shadow, whether the subject be graffiti-covered buildings or the soaring sculptural qualities of train trestles. In the latter, a viewer might be excused for thinking they see the underpinnings of an imaginary universe rather than Secor Avenue.
Her vision of the Bronx hovers somewhere between Magritte and Hopper. Skies are typically cloudy blue and vistas are free of people and trash. Yet the densely detailed paintings don’t gloss over harsh environments. Instead, they are celebrated and uplifted through an exploration of light and shadow. There is something almost nostalgic in Larko’s work. With her command of color saturation, she conjures a Bruckner Boulevard that is oddly reminiscent of 1950’s California.