17 May - 20 July 2018
PREVIEW 16 May / 6:30PM
RICCARDO CRESPI GALLERY
Via Mellerio, 1
Ricardo 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.
Veronica Smirnoff was born in Moscow in 1979. She lives and works in London and Moscow.
Selected exhibitions: 2016 Anthropocene, Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan; 10. Group show 2006-2016, Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan 2015 Painting Now, Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan 2014 Forward, Eton College, Windsor, UK; A Midsummer Night’s: Dreams... and Music, St Peter’s Church, London; Would Be Worlds, Erarta Gallery, London; Walls, Pushkin House, London 2013 Beyond The Shore, Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan; EVERYWHERE BUT NOW, 4th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece; Renewal of the Sacred, House of the Nobleman, London; The Future Can’t Wait, B1, Victoria House, London 2012 Dreaming Beauties, Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan; The Madding Spring, Gallery Vela, London 2011 Opulent Vision, Ford Project Gallery, New York 2010 BRIC Theme Auction, Saatchi Gallery, London; John Moores Painting Prize 2010, Walker Art Gallery, National Museums, Liverpool; Zhar, Galerie Stanislas Bourgain, Paris 2009 Women to Watch: The Figure Re-Figured, Friends of National Museum of Women in the Arts, London 2008 Invasion: Evasion, Baibakov art projects, Moscow; Morozka, Galleria Riccardo Crespi, Milan 2006 TGU, Zoo Art Fair, London; Lenin Lovers, Curator Space Gallery, London 2005 Baroquerocks, Espace Brochage Express Gallery, Paris