Evocations/ About a Woman3. Mar - 29. Mar 14 / ended Hay Hill Gallery
Mon-Fri 10.30-6, Saturdays 11-5
The paintings of Sveta Yavorsky and Lilia Mazurkevich
Hay Hill Gallery will be presenting a double exhibition this March, featuring works by Sveta Yavorsky and Lilia Mazurkevich.
Yavorsky’s worlds are arranged in tea leaves, swirling up some truly fantastic tales that merge and emerge like Scheherazade’s never ending stories. The style embraces the semi-abstract method of composition that Malevich termed the ‘additional element' of painting. The canvases are like glowing coals in their red-hot transparencies, magic carpet patterns embroider creatures that swim underwater. Perforations hang like flies stuck in amber, whilst spectral figures melt beside their stained glass horses.
Like a palimpsest, here and there are traces of old faces, embalmed on waxy paper ruins. The moth-wing fragility of dusty landscapes surrounds bejewelled figures with tracing paper hands. Silvery machinery parts float like x-rays across boiling jam skies, a bright blue Bambi emerges like a lantern. These paintings are parchments torn from ancient manuscripts with their metallic lustre and inky camouflage. They buzz with coral birds, azure tigers and mohawked horses. Yavorsky’s transparent animals are mottled and marbled with pale green veins, they appear like watercolours brushed over oil and gilded. Elegant, regal and illustrative, the works could have been made by Klimt wearing night-vision goggles, resembling the strange love child of Rothko and Banksy.
Here, the inner and outer world has been placed in careful balance, the subjects metamorphose into each other and their backgrounds. In Yavorsky’s work, Time is suspended, an hourglass left lying on its side. Beyond these wide open spaces, time is still dissolving grain by grain.
By contrast, Lilia Mazurkevich’s off-beat portraits are often claustrophobic. We peer into dark velvet boxes where contortionists fold themselves into impossible shapes, rooms shrink to fit their residents and people clamber awkwardly over each other just to find a bit of space. Quirky yet classically painted, these are disconcerting scenarios full of naked women using cacti, butterflies and ducks as props.
Dorothy meets Alice in a tangle of fat white rabbits and sparkly red slippers. These anti-heroines are not demure or particularly angelic, and they shamelessly decorate themselves with live ornaments; an iguana rucksack, a chameleon bonnet, crocodile shoes. All still breathing. Medusa-wigged or snake turbaned, the luminous skin of each subject is contrasted by the metallic scales of their reptilian accessories. Overtly sexual, these women hold our gaze for longer than is ‘proper’ or comfortable.
Mazurkevich keeps her viewers on their toes with surreally imaginative scenes: Heaps of sunburned pig ladies and hippo-headed beach bums spill fatly over a small stretch of sand; Faces squeeze themselves in next to each other, all wearing different moods like the seven dwarves flat packed into a frame (Panic, Greedy, Hopeful, Lusty, Anxious, Paranoid and Vacant); Every hat serves to tell a story about its wearer, weaving a tapestry of embroidered wizards and harlequin jesters; A sooty eyed girl sits sulking up a tree and refuses to come back down. These hyper-realist paintings are about perceived identity, challenging our attitudes towards what the material world has to offer. Commenting on how the material world can distort our versions of people, each work revels in its own melancholia with subtly dark humour.
“In my art I am trying to depict the variety of character and appearance in people which amazes me. I am astonished how people act and express themselves in different circumstances and situations. Human nature is so deep; that is why it can never be defined, why it is so interesting and fragile. There is a strong connection between humour and sadness. Life is curious.” (Mazurkevich)
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