Audrey Bialke

Artist Profile

Audrey Bialke

Based in rural upstate New York, Audrey Bialke works primarily as a painter to create fantastical scenes that combine her interest in spiritual traditions, Pagan iconography, and concerns regarding impending climate catastrophes. Bialke’s small-scale oil paintings on panel feature mythological creatures, such as dragons, winged lions, and unicorns, shown alongside domestic objects and pastoral landscapes suggesting a thread between fantasy and everyday human life. These sometimes anachronistic and surrealist juxtapositions draw attention to the human relationship with imagined fauna and flora, a nod to the artist’s keen interest in our historical relationship to the natural world.

Culling from an interest in Medieval illuminated manuscripts, Bialke frames each painted scene with an elaborate decorative border. In some of these designs, Bialke seeks to recontextualize botanical imagery from the Voynich Manuscript, which is a so far untranslatable and indecipherable manuscript from the early 15th century. These borders, which also act as an ode to early domestic patterning, further accentuate the feel of a composed visual narrative and suggest that a story is being told in symbols. The paintings become an allegory of a real and imagined past and present, as well as of life, death, and that mystical place in-between.


Bialke received a BA in Visual Arts and a BA in English from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 2013. Bialke presented her solo exhibit ILLUMINATION STATION at SPRING/BREAK Art Show’s “Naked Lunch” in 2022, and co-curated DREAMPLACE at SPRING/BREAK Art Show’s “Wild Card” in 2023.

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Artist Statement

My representational paintings are collections of entities connected by a narrative thread. I collect historical fragments and creatures lost in time. I borrow imagery from illuminated manuscripts, and scour books looking for creatures to re-imagine in a contemporary context. I am curious about how different images and objects relate to each other. In my most recent paintings I have been recontextualizing botanical imagery from the Voynich Manuscript, which is a so far untranslatable and indecipherable manuscript from the early 15th century. The original drawings of plants in the manuscript are rendered in muted colors due to fading and material limitations, so I paint them in vibrant colors to give them a luscious second life. I am intrigued by the author’s dedication to a seemingly entirely invented world of plants and mythologies, and this process connects me to known and unknown crafters and creators across time.

The melancholic tone in my work references our emotional landscapes, the discomfort of navigating interpersonal conflicts, and the persistent threat of large scale catastrophes. Some of my works grapple with life, death and the in-between. I combine moments of joy, comfort, and a feeling of home with an eerie sadness. Each painting contains the ingredients for the kind of spell to keep malicious spirits at bay.