Irina is a Moscow-born artist who resides between London and Monaco. She studied painting at the Andriyaka Art School in Moscow between 2001 and 2006 and was also taught by the Russian artist Boris Parkhunov. In 2015, Irina was one of 50 artists out of 3,000 entries to be selected for the Winsor & Newton Painting Prize for her self-portrait in oils. Irina started exhibiting her work in 2013 and has since taken part in the Christie’s Auction in Port of Monaco, exhibited at Erarta Gallery, London’s Commonwealth Gallery, Griffin Gallery and Rossotrudnichestvo in London.
For her most recent solo exhibition in April 2016 entitled Still Lives at Erarta Galleries London she created a series of detailed oil paintings which fuse her love of portrait painting and nature, as well as allowing her to expand into a new area of art, creating a selection of giclée prints. She also incorporated taxidermy elements into her work with ‘bug boxes’. Drawing on literary inspiration from the greats Nabokov and Bulgakov, the exhibition was the culmination of months of intricate study of birds and insects at the Natural History Museum and the Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London.
Starkova captures moments in artwork in a lifelike way usually reserved for the most skilful photographers. Her inanimate forms, frozen and quiet, deliver timelessness and serenity. “I wanted to show how we use the animal kingdom to express human emotion,” she says. “Chickens have been moulded into poses to express basic human desires and the eagle with the halo makes a saint out of a martyr - showing how the human world idolises the dead. The entomological boxes explore how insects have literally shaped (consciously or unconsciously) household objects, symbols (letters, signs) that we use in everyday life".