Thursday, March 29 to Friday, April 27
This April, Gallery 33 is excited to have Melbourne based painter Cristina Popovici’s ‘Study for Self-Portrait’ on show. These are striking paintings of the artist’s personal journey that are a must-see!
Artist statement: ‘Study for Self-Portrait’
Cristina Popovici’s exhibition ‘Study for Self-Portrait’ is an exposition of the experiences that have layered themselves in the creases of her skin, accumulated in the corners of her eyes, and in the palms of her hands. It is the words with no sound, it is the power in subtly. It is the self-portraits that have been developing in the depths of Popovici’s mind for years.
Throughout the course of her life, her paintings have always been an expression of herself. As an abstract artist, Popovici works with her energy, intuition, and physical body to create self-expression through the artistic vocabulary she has developed.
Self-expression is not a method that Popovici uses, and it is not something that can named, there is no specific spot on a canvas you can point to and say, ‘this is self-expression’. It is the chemical reaction between vulnerability and the fluidity of the paint that she uses, which allows deposits of ‘self’ to slowly seep underneath and dry slowly with the painting. Self-expression is the result.
Remove the rusting paint from the canvas, and both the canvas and paint become just another tool. Place them together, and they show you what skin would say if it could speak. Remove the geometrical shapes from each painting and you are left with a book with no pages. Place them back together and you create a stillness in colour, a lens to see her stories.
The ochre and earthy tones seep Popovici’s relationship with nature. The rawness of minerals, the time-accumulated rust, the richness of green. Popovici uses the dark and the light to paint the bond with earth.
From the scriptures on her body, to the scriptures dug into the plaster, there is dialogue. Unutterable as they may be, calligraphy takes the deposits of Cristina’s thoughts, her memories, and defines the spaces within the canvas. Creating lines of expression and boundaries allow the photographs to keep their power.
Rather than being morphed, covered and developed into an unrecognisable form, the photographs have been given space to subtly ooze their own expression. Her faces, her hands, her eyes are speaking to you as they speak amongst themselves. Not all journeys have a physical road, some are paved in your mind.
With her past used as a compass, her ‘self’ used as a reference point, and the desire for creation and expression as her vehicle, Popovici has allowed herself to expose her raw skin, unfiltered. She has challenged herself to let the boldness of a photograph be the visual impact of her works. There is a rawness in self-acceptance. There is a genuineness in the bumps, smudges, wrinkles and ripped edges that if removed, would leave these works just portraits.
This is a study of self-portraits.
Ana Tinc, Melbourne, 2018.
33 Helwick Street, Wanaka, Wanaka, Southland / Otago 9305, New Zealand