Ophelia (art) - digital painting of a doll by Barbara Agreste

Pop Surrealism

Sublime dolls and deceit

Sublime Dolls is a review about Barbara Agreste: her video art shows restless figures and the anxiety of...

Sublime Dolls

Barbara Agreste, post-surrealist artist, much appreciated abroad for her VideoArt, is presenting for the exhibition “The sharing of difference” four paintings that dwell on the subtle dreamy line that separates life and death.

Her figures have no peace, and are representative of the uncertainty and anxiety of the contemporary human soul.


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In Reptilica Barbara Agreste’s Symbols

Barbara Agreste's symbols. The doll is also sadly a symbol for a perfect lifeless beauty...

“In Reptilica i simboli
di Barbara Agreste”

Video of the week:
“In Reptilica Barbara Agreste’s symbols”

Review by Claudia Quintieri | 18 June 2012

Barbara Agreste loved art ever since. Her formal training begun at the art College of her town, and after that she lived in Milan for some time attending a Set Design course in Brera Academy.

Video Art, Short Film by Barbara Agreste. Image with a doll on a checkered blue floor watching worms pass by.

(The image above refers to the short animated filmReptilica)

In 1993 she moved to the UK where at first she took contemporary dance classes, and performed in dance companies; but after two years she returned to the visual arts enrolling at the University of Kent.


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Ghost, Painting of a Doll from the Ophelia Pop surrealism series by Barbara Agreste

oil on canvas
80 x 60 cm



Earth is a painting of a doll on the floor, from "The catharsis of Ophelia" series, oil on canvas by Barbara Agreste.

oil on canvas
90 x 84 cm


 This painting is about the earth. It is so because the earth is the place that welcomes all of us when we are unable to stand, or walk. When we have a problem with our balance, the earth is there to protect us, and will guide us through the recovery of our right senses, and of our conscious life.

When I made this painting I was excited about the outcome of the doll’s body, it was an incredible discovery that I could render the lights, and shadows of the feet, legs and trunk so well, so naturally, with no need to make things perfect, and with just a few brush strokes, things would come out so plausible. I decided then to make the face, and it hasn’t turned out to be so convincing.

But I did not want to change it, because I thought perfection in  this case was not needed: we have the face of a puppet, and the atmosphere of this painting is uncanny, wants to be sinister. Therefore why to make the doll’s face more human?

The message is one of “transformation of pain”, “transfiguration”, so even if the nose wouldn’t return a mathematical perfection in its lightings, I left the features distorted intentionally, so the sensation that some sort of unstable dream is going on stays with the viewer.

I wanted to create the flashback of a dream: the picture is like a film frame that would pass, like a lightning strike,  trough the length of the film, a sudden opening of light into the unconscious mind of the viewer/author/protagonist.

This earth painting is one of a series of paintings that represent the concept of ground as an important resource of reconstitution. It is the ever resting place for the body: in my imaging a ground not very detailed, rather blank and anonymous, but yet still very present and important for understanding the transitional state of the Nigredo.


Black Bough Doll

Painting - portrait of a Doll from "The Catharsis of Ophelia" series, art by Barbara Agreste.

oil on canvas
77 x 51 cm

Black Bough Doll

Art Shake Festival

Art Shake Festival (Pop Surrealism, Lowbrow) Second edition of this event in Berlin.

ART SHAKE Festival III edition part 2 >>>Berlin

1 Night of 15 Video Installations, Performance and Live Set

ART SHAKE Festival: Contemporary arts festival Created and directed by Emanuela De Notariis

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Jamais Vu

Painting of a Doll from the "Ophelia and Catharsis" series by Barbara Agreste.,

Jamais Vu (never seen)

This evening for the exhibition organized by Agnes Casolani “Jamais Vu”, at the Rose est la vie Rose Garden, in Thaulero 12 Rd, Barbara Agreste will present a selection of her new paintings from her “Spine Flowers” series. The exhibition will be up until the 9th of August.

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Art Shake Festival Mondo Bizarro gallery

Art Shake Festival Mondo Bizarro

Art Shake Festival
Mondo Bizarro Gallery

ART SHAKE festival
created and directed by Emanuela De Notariis

July 3 – 9 ROMA
Mondo Bizzarro Gallery
Hybrida Contemporanea gallery

ART SHAKE promotes art charachterized by hybrid languages and multiplicity of media, able to soothe the wounds of reality with wonder.
A fil rouge connects the different arts, all made of the blood of the controversial age we’re living in. They metabolize conflicts and uneasiness of our age, skinning it and gutting its socio-cultural superstructures. And then sewing new skins over it, made of imagination.


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Dolls - Ophelia (art, paintings) series by Barbara Agreste