Russian Artist Maria Safronova Paints Anxiety and Uncertainty within Ordered Lives

How can classical painting techniques be used to construct a reality that reflects and critiques contemporary society? This is what Maria Safronova sets out to do in her recent series of paintings, accompanied by three-dimensional props.

The ‘freedom’ to adapt to norms and routines is a recurrent theme, as is the complacency and even enthusiasm that such socialisation may inspire in the individual. Safronova’s images are hybrids, borrowing features from Russian life today, with its neo-Soviet, neo-imperial tendencies, and from fifteenth and sixteenth century painting in the Low Countries and Italy. Safronova contrasts stylised empty backgrounds with patterned surfaces that enhance the central perspective. Both devices create stages, which she populates with compositions of human figures, based on studies from live models and photographs.

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