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Aissulu Kadyrzhanova is a Philadelphia-based artist.  Born in 1978 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Kadyrzhanova first attended Almaty Art College, where she received her initial formal training in painting.  She then studied at the renowned Surikov Institute of the Arts in Moscow, Russia, under the instruction of a prominent Russian painter Pavel Nikonov, whose work continues traditions of the Russian avant-garde movement “Society of Easel-Painters.”  Kadyrzhanova continued her studies in the United States by graduating from the MFA Program in Painting at Tyler School of Art of Temple University.

The unique blend of experiences and education has made Kadyrzhanova a painter with an original point of view.   In her work she combines strong realist traditions of the Russian school of painting together with more conceptual and experimental approach to painting in the Western art world.  In addition, her work is enhanced by the Kazakh school of painting, which is known for its monumentality of form and symbolism.

Kadyrzhanova works and exhibits in Philadelphia, Moscow, and Almaty.


“The work of Aissulu Kadyrzhanova engages with traditional genres of painting through reduced and simplified forms. Using the subject of landscape, still-life, and the body, she explores these motifs by means of a visual language that produces rich moments of ambiguity through decisive painterly gestures. In formal terms, her work recalls any number of figures from the past, such as Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, and others, while trying to see what paint can still offer to a twenty-first century audience. Working on a large scale, her canvases immerse the viewer in rich fields of textural surfaces.

Existing somewhere between realism and abstraction, her figures provoke realms beyond the sensual and the sensible, using the materiality of paint to convey inner experience. Her work bears witness to what endures in art, that which gives testimonial to our being through both reflection and expression. Her mark making creates complexity through simplicity, while destabilizing the relation between figure and ground. Her condensation of vision broaches the eternal and the fleeting, memories of distant places and private moments gone in a flash of time still reverberating in the present. The result is a body of work that presents a case for the continuation of painting, even while acknowledging the long history through which painting descends.”

Dr. Kevin M. Richards, Ph.D., Chair of the Liberal Arts Department at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts