Veronica Smirnoff “Tales of Bright and Brittle” at Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan
Riccardo Crespi gallery is pleased to present Tales of Bright and Brittle, the third solo exhibition in Italy by the British artist of Russian origin Veronica Smirnoff.
The paintings on show make up the body of work, conceived and created between 2017 and 2018, which explores various insights into the fantastical and historical, the folkloric and illusory. Smirnoff draws inspiration from her experiences of places, her love for books and tales, abiding with history, myths and old epics that people hold in common.
The egg tempera on gessoed wood, one of the oldest and finicky techniques, is instrumental to the artist’s working process. She employs methodology, associated with icon and miniature painting, Asian tradition and folk art as well as ideas, symbols and gestures from other sources to add meaning and validity to her subjects. Borrowing from different pictorial languages versus irrational proximity and pure intuition somewhat intimates the relentless conflict between figuration and abstraction, a subtle and constantly reimagined balance between allegory and appropriation.
In the artist’s words: ”The magic of daring to relate something always happens in the mental space. It is a test of imagination which allows us to move freely in the realm of fantasy, reluctant to question the lack of mental connection between the incomprehensible things that eventually make sense and teach us something about the real world.”
The thematic cues are opulent and self-perpetuating: in Scarlet and Seraphim, the explicit reference to Böcklin’s Isle of the Dead loosens into a more luminous ephemeral space, evincing that it is still possible to explore painting and life. Here they reveal a common destiny in which thoughts and images are subject to an eternal return. Incidentally there are always allusions to the contemporary world, enduring in its beauty and fragility: Echelon depicts a group of people walking in line, perhaps migrants but simply human beings heading for unknown lands, to where each will bring his or her own story and sensibility. Thus every individual journey is unique yet embraced by our collective memory, never bereft of the ancient instinct of elementary wonder, belief and hope.
at Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan
until 20 July 2018