I have always been fascinated with Medieval art and everything connected to this period: the dark, half destroyed frescos of Roman catacombs, old Orthodox icons that seem to stare into one's soul, gloom legends and fairy tales. To me, they all seemed to be some sort of a secret window to the world of humanity's subconscious, to the dark side that each of us has. This sublime darkness is something I am trying to capture and reflect in my works.
I think that the main focus of my practice can be described as the exploration of complexity, controversy and frailty of human nature through metaphors and symbolic references. My works are highly narrative and touch on themes of mythology, legends, afterlife, memories, ancestry and identity. By combining and reinterpreting the symbolism and iconography, of Medieval, folk and Orthodox art, I am reflecting their meaning in a new, contemporary context.
My works are highly influenced by the magical world of Marc Chagall, the loneliness of Van Gogh and darkness of Munch. Moving from simple portraits to more complex compositions, I am always aiming to preserve the theatrical and ritualistic quality in my paintings: the movements, the activities of the characters seemed to be frozen in time and space when interrupted by the viewer. My goal is to make the viewer feel like he is accidentally witnessing something secret, something that he was not meant to see.
The usage of various ani-humans, ghosts and creatures are whimsically interacting with humans, creating tension between the two and underlining the contrast between real and imaginary, conscious and subconscious, exploring the human soul on a deeper level. By juxtaposing the childishness and darkness in my art, I am aiming to create an uncanny feeling, appealing to distant memories, visions, materialization of personal subliminal “self”.
When trying to materialize these ephemeral concepts mixing various mediums , colors, textures and techniques become vital. The variety and richness of textures help me to highlight the stylized, primitive shapes and bring up their pure ascetic beauty. Experimenting with colors, I am moving from muted earthy tones to contemporary flashy colors creating completely unique combinations. I am trying to keep my lines and shapes raw, unprecise and avoid “overpolishing” and “finesse”. Preserving this roughness is a big challenge, but to me it is extremely important to keep my strokes more crude, more primal in order to sustain the folk quality of my artworks and their “perfect imperfections”.
Although there obviously are stories communicated through every detail of my works, be it through color or through subject matter, I never put the final word, leaving it up to the viewer to interpret and finish them. By doing so, I am hoping to reach the interaction between the viewer and the artwork, to create a connection between them on a deeper, more personal level.