VERA ILIATOVA: THE HOMECOMING
22 JANUARY 2021 - 30 MAY 2021
Zephyr and Maize is proud to present its first exhibition of work by Vera Iliatova: Homecoming. Iliatova’s paintings from recent (2018-2020) years take us on a journey through dream-like landscapes and interiors, which she describes as "something to what her subconscious responds." As Iliatova says, "I paint by looking out of the window, but the landscape slowly becomes invented and recalls something out of my past."
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."
In past conversation about her practice, Vera has invoked this quote: "Art is the necessity of the unnecessary, daydream reshaped through the imperatives of the painter’s rectangle of canvas. And the power of certain great paintings, no matter how much self-conscious craft the artist brings to the work, is the quality of a daydream, an orchestration of elements whose meaning remains ambiguous or contradictory" (an excerpt from Jed Perl’s book Antoine’s Alphabet: Watteau and His World).
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 and curated by Varia Serova
(exhibition prepared in collaboration with Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York City)