Studio Visit with VERA ILIATOVA

Vera Iliatova in her studio, January 2021 © Vera Iliatova for Zephyr and Maize

Rendered in minute detail yet with painterly breadth, Iliatova’s paintings are fictional syntheses. Mysterious landscapes and intricate interiors are populated by female protagonists, real and imagined; the inspiration is drawn from disparate sources, including Iliatova's immediate surroundings, art history, American teleseries and Soviet coming-of-age films, such as "100 Days After Childhood" and "Assa" by Sergei Solovyov. Iliatova integrates these disjointed topographies through a complex and intuitive painting process, and uses preparatory studies as touchstones. Her palette is subtle and particular, with muted compound colours and luscious shades of green.

Iliatova's preoccupation with the female figure, which is evident throughout her work, remains present in her paintings from the recent years. As the artist states, her interest lies in depicting "stories of women from a viewpoint of a woman", but she paints to identify and manifest her own experience, so the narratives and connection to the protagonists is, indeed, very personal. Most of Iliatova's narratives are formed by recollections and memories of her childhood in Saint-Petersburg: "I remember the styles of school uniforms, the inventiveness that we had to apply to our wardrobes to look on point in the ever-fashionable Saint-Petersburg, the relationships with my classmates, the coming of age on the streets of the city."

About her studio time and practice, Vera says: "I need the uninterrupted time to be in the studio in order to dream through the act of painting. The studio is full of art books, magazines and photographs that I use as source material. There are also props: wardrobe for the characters in the paintings, a couple of mannequins, dry and fresh flowers, the view out of the window." She describes her process as both intuitive and grounded in art history: "Sometimes painting feels like a mathematical process: I set up problems of space, light and narrative and then I work out multiple way to resolve these problems. The revision is the key aspect of my process , and the works remain abstract for a long time. I work on several paintings at a time, and I also let unfinished paintings sit in the studio for a while so I can make decisions over the time spent looking at them."

Vera Iliatova is represented by Nathalie Karg Gallery in New York City. Iliatova’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad at venues that include: Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York; Monya Rowe Gallery, New York; Barbara Walters Gallery, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville; Galleria Glance, Torino, Italy; Mogadishni Gallery, Copenhagen; New Langton Art Center, San Francisco; Artist Space, New York; and David Castillo Gallery, Miami.

Written by: Varia Serova

Image Courtesy: Vera Iliatova for Zephyr and Maize, 2021

2021 © Zephyr and Maize

Vera Iliatova's Studio, January 2021 © Vera Iliatova for Zephyr and Maize

Vera Iliatova's Studio, January 2021 © Vera Iliatova for Zephyr and Maize

Vera Iliatova's Studio, January 2021 © Vera Iliatova for Zephyr and Maize