My girlfriend, Lisa Daria Kennedy, pointed me in the direction of Vera Iliatova’s paintings when she was trying to encourage me to take off some of my self imposed rules in my new painting practice. yes, I am actually painting! Lisa knows that I am drawn to figurative work (doesn’t that sound a bit more spectacular than, fashion illustration?) but she also knows that I had suddenly opened up my eyes and heart to landscape and still life all in a short period of time. She explained how Russian born Iliatova adds all these elements in her work. I read up on Vera’s work and needless to say my descriptions of what I see in her work don’t include “…heroines’ escape into the bosom of Mother Nature as a romantic protest…” although I do agree with the use of the word heroine.
I feel rather parochial when I say that her work makes me feel very Nancy Drew. Remember how she was just coming of age and she seemed to be quite a bit more responsible than the rest of us? How did her parents let her have that much freedom to solve all those mysteries, anyway? Nancy didn’t have helicopter parents.
It is the sense of mystery and nostalgia that appeals to me in Vera’s work. It intrigues me and keeps me interested.
Vera Iliatova said: My paintings start with purely visual ideas: a certain kind of light and a certain kind of space that I think would be interesting to paint at the moment. The process begins as an abstraction and slowly the painting evolves into a composite of different pictorial elements. I know that eventually the painting will be populated with figures but I don’t have a pre-determined narrative that I am consciously aware of. As the painting develops, it begins to evoke certain experiences, either from my own life, or from things that I have seen in films or read about.