Constantly reassembling and alluding to pre renaissance and icon painting, folklore and Asian tradition, paintings are constructed with traditional elements - the fragility of gesso and solidity of wood, with pigment ground from semi-precious stones, mixed with egg yolk and wine to make the paints. The wooden supporting boards are made of oak in Russian monasteries and blessed. Layer by layer, the surface is encrusted with texture and then sanded down to its sedimentary surface. Smirnoff is fascinated by the idea of the "Icon" as the object of worship and its close relation to "popular art" with a wide repertoire of signs: the flat moulding of figures, conventional space and the abstract effects of colours.

Her work is influenced by elements of the folk imagination, transformed into a universal concept. Through jarring cultural identities, the present and the past often gives way to intuition as opposed to appropriation, testing the authenticity of images and not consciously following a particular narrative.

Maintaining a symbolic appearance is a red herring. A platform for the constant quest for style, engendering a different sensibility through the use of historical languages; a montage of imagery nods to the allegorical discourse resonating with complexities of reality and offering vignettes of contrasting logic, anecdotal and not didactic.

Veronica Smirnoff is a British artist of Russian origin, (born Moscow, Russia, 1979). She gained a BA from the Slade School of Art and a post graduate diploma from the Royal Academy of Arts. She had her first solo show with Galleria Riccardo Crespi in Milan (2008). Smirnoff has exhibited in Moscow, Paris, Berlin, New York and London. She was selected for the John Moores Painting Prize UK (2010). She lives and works in London.

Veronica is represented by Riccardo Crespi Gallery.


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