Monday, 9 February 2009

Igor & Marina

In the work of Igor Kozlovsky and Marina Sharapova, time is not merely linear; it's an element to manipulate, to fold into strikingly original compositions. In each canvas we sense a narrative is implied, but we always fall short of piecing it together - it's like waking up from a dream. And just as dreams synthesize all manner of seemingly disparate material into cohesive experiences, so Igor and Marina blend the modern and traditional, the representational and the abstract and indeed their own divergent personalities into each finished painting.

Working as a husband-and-wife team, the Russian-born duo collaborates on each canvas, Marina contributing her impressive skills as a figurative artist in the Old-Master tradition, Igor lending his refined sense of color, shape, texture and affinity for abstract images. As a result, the paintings are influenced by, and recall, a diverse spectrum of artists and eras: famous avant-garde figures like Chagall, Malevich, and Kandinsky as well as fifteenth-century Russian religious painters like Andrei Rublev. Partly, this array of forbearers reflects the artists's education: trained in rigorous Russian academies to appreciate both ancient and modern techniques, they learned to combine past and present with fluidity.

The figures in Igor and Marina's paintings look at once contemporary and historical - they might be modern people garbed in costumes of the past; they might be past people plunged into the present. The constant repetition of human forms, of faces, of clothing, seems to call into question the notion of rigid identity: paintings such as Twelve Apples, Isabella, Behind the Looking Glass, and Vanishing Point place multiple versions of the same person onto a single plane, defying a conventional experience of self. It's as if the frames of a film have been layered on top of one another to very surreal effect - a state that Igor and Marina, with their finely tuned sense of all that is enigmatic, seductive, and dreamlike in life, always wholeheartedly embrace. (Caldwell Snyder)

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