The good life from a barnyard perspective

In his native Russia, Valery Yershov was an abstract painter, but for the last 15 years the New York transplant has mastered the art of detail, quietly building a cult following for painstakingly rendered, lushly appointed period interiors peopled by farmyard animals. Though it is tempting to suggest that his gently surrealistic images are a commentary on Western decadence, Yershov, 45, has a more diplomatic take. The devoted dogs, dandy cats, humble goats and sneaky rabbits of childhood Russian folk tales are as much a part of his visual vocabulary "as the gold, blue and red of ornate Faberge eggs," says the artist, whose Manhattan apartment is sparsely decorated with chinoiserie and vintage pieces. Yershov has an architect's eye for perspective, placing his beasts in elegant rooms with vaulted ceilings, arched doorways, parquet floors and neoclassical sculpture. "I like mixing together different styles, the Asian and the European," he says of paintings such as "Portrait of a Goat," shown here. "The interiors are designed in my imagination." Yershov's originals are represented exclusively through Rima Fine Art of Scottsdale, Ariz.; limited edition giclee prints start at $1,200. (480) 994-8899;

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