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Beautiful Creatures
By E. S. Jones
The newly located Hay Hill Gallery is presenting a double exhibition this March, featuring the paintings of Sveta Yavorsky and Lilia Mazurkevich.

Sveta Yavorsky 'Evocations'

Sveta Yavorsky’s worlds are arranged in tea leaves, swirling up some truly fantastic tales that merge and emerge like Scheherazade’s never ending stories. The style embraces the semi-abstract method of composition that Malevich termed the ‘additional element' of painting. The canvases are like glowing coals in their red-hot transparencies, magic carpet patterns embroider creatures that swim underwater. Perforations are flies stuck in amber, whilst spectral figures melt beside their stained glass horses.

Here and there are traces of old faces, embalmed on waxy paper ruins, like parchments torn from ancient manuscripts, or a palimpsest. The moth-wing fragility of dusty landscapes surrounds bejewelled figures with tracing paper hands; silver machinery parts float like x-rays across boiling jam skies. A bright blue Bambi emerges from the metallic lustre like a lantern.

The tension between the inner and outer world is in careful balanced as the coral birds, azure tigers and mohawked horses metamorphose into their backgrounds. Yavorsky’s transparent animals are mottled and marbled with pale green veins, appearing like watercolours brushed over oil and gilded. Elegant, regal and illustrative, the works could have been made by Klimt wearing night-vision goggles, the strange love child of Rothko and Banksy.


Lilia Mazurkevich 'About a Woman'

By contrast, Lilia Mazurkevich’s off-beat portraits are often claustrophobic. We peer into dark velvet boxes where contortionists fold themselves into impossible shapes, rooms shrink to fit their residents and people clamber awkwardly over each other just to find a bit of space. Quirky yet classically painted, these are disconcerting scenarios full of naked women using cacti, butterflies and ducks as props.

Dorothy meets Alice in a tangle of fat white rabbits and sparkly red slippers. These anti-heroines are not demure or particularly angelic, and they shamelessly decorate themselves with live ornaments; an iguana rucksack, a chameleon bonnet, crocodile shoes. All still breathing. Medusa-wigged or snake turbaned, the luminous skin of each subject is emphasised by the scales of their reptilian accessories. Overtly sexual, these women hold our gaze for much longer than is ‘proper’ or comfortable.

Mazurkevich keeps her viewers on their toes with surreally imaginative scenes. Heaps of sunburned pig ladies and hippo-headed beach bums spill fatly over a small stretch of sand, faces squeeze in next to each other like the seven dwarves flat packed into a frame (Panic, Greedy, Hopeful, Lusty, Anxious, Paranoid and Vacant). Every hat serves to tell a story about its wearer, a tapestry of embroidered wizards and harlequin jesters. These hyper-realist paintings are about perceived identity, challenging our attitudes towards what we have to offer. Commenting on how the material world can distort our versions of people, each work revels in its own melancholia with a subtly dark humour.

‘Evocations’: Sveta Yavorsky and ‘About a Woman’: Lilia Mazurkevich
3rd-29th March 2014
at Hay Hill Gallery, 35 Baker Street, London W1U 8EN

The exhibition is held alongside a sculpture collection which features works by Eleanor Cardozo, Nicola Godden, Richard L.Minns, Andy Cheese, Jamie McCartney, Ian Edwards, Gianfranco Meggiato, Massimiliano Cacchiarelli Principi and Palolo Valdes.


E-mail: info@hayhillgallery.com