In the spring of 2006, Ms. Marina Fedorova graduated from the Mukhina Art and Design Academy where she majored in Fashion Design and Illustration. The defence of her thesis was a true piece of performance art: Ms. Fedorova painted a white dress right on the model whom she just met face to face on the runway. The professionalism and preciseness of the Artist’s style was noted by viewers and critics alike at the first solo show of her graphic compositions at D137 Gallery in May 2005.
This year, the Artist is showing her two new painting series at XL and D137 galleries (in Moscow and St. Petersburg respectively). One is dedicated to the cult figures of the fashion world: Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood, Yohji Yamamoto, and the photographer Helmut Newton. The other one is an homage to such American art greats as the painter Edward Hopper and the filmmaker David Lynch (Ms. Fedorova even borrowed the title for one of her paintings from the latter’s film The Straight Story).
The very title of the exhibition, Autumn Time, refers both to the famous hit tune from 1968, Summertime, and to Jackson Pollock’s masterpiece Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) from 1950 (Pollock and Lee Krasner also make an appearance in one of the paintings).
Ms. Marina Fedorova is exceptional in her ability to show her subject in the immediacy of total disclosure. At the same time, the artist does not yield to the style and spirit of her protagonists, even if they are legendary fashion designers. She definitely has her own style, and there is no reason that would make her give up being herself. Portraits of fashion designers and genre scenes resembling film stills are created by Ms. Marina Fedorova in her signature style inspired by the aloof imagery of the French New Wave cinema posters, the detached language of Pop Art’s reinvention of advertisements, and the swiftness of magazine illustrations capturing the weightless glimmer of fashion.
The Artist’s paintings, seemingly saturated with carmine lipstick, are superficially attributed by some art critics as belonging to the currently popular trend of trash glamour. This is the movement known for utilising the ‘glamorous garbage’ from media images and making all-too-obvious nods to both Pop Art and Edward Hopper, the latter being credited not so much for his own work but rather for the influence his paintings had on the frame composition in Alfred Hitchcock’s films.
However, Ms. Marina Fedorova’s approach to reclaiming the iconic cinematic and photographic images is quite different. The phenomenon of global mass media recycling that so occupied the post-modernist minds in the late 20th century shows a different bend in the 2000s, focusing instead on image ecology.
The Artist sees her task not so much in mythologizing the powers of mass copying, but rather in the creation of a private space for artistic meditation right beside the objects of mass worship. This is achieved by means of adding her own interest to the impersonalized cult of the millions. Each of her paintings is a kind of such meditation, be it on the painting styles of Pollock and Hopper or on the designs by Westwood and Chanel.
In a world that makes it increasingly difficult to avoid fake thoughts and emotions, artistic practices yet again function as natural mechanisms of self-purification, if not self-comprehension.
The artists are responsible for the vibrancy of the visual environment of big cities. It is this vibrancy of the silvery colour in Ms. Fedorova’s landscapes or the sudden emptiness of the blank white space emerging between two cups on a table in her still lifes that make the inner space of these paintings living and memorable. The trademark painterly style invented by Ms. Marina Fedorova will always preserve the freshness and clarity of world perception for everyone who happened to resonate with her paintings.