Work featured in The Journal: A Literary Magazine

Boryana Rusenova-Ina paints collages bound by light. Using images of both the Bulgarian landscape of her youth and of places she has never traveled, she constructs small dioramas in her studio out of postcards, snapshots, and other pictures she finds or makes. Lighting these like miniature stage sets to unite the disparate parts, she then paints what she sees: an image that is both constructed and organic, real and imagined.

Her paintings present as a unified landscape—comfortable and coherent—and yet they maintain the unsettling suggestion that they might, at any moment, rupture our expectations and fly apart. Delicately surreal, Rusenova-Ina’s work speaks to both how tenuous and how fundamental our relationship with place can be.

I spoke with Boryana Rusenova-Ina in the OSU Digital Union’s recording studio. We talked about being foreigners in America, buying into images of unfamiliar places, and her unlikely arrival as an artist.

-Suzannah Showler