MAMOTH is pleased to present a solo exhibition, Cautionary Tales by Stanislava Kovalcikova, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Drawing on contemporary and historical perspectives of the female nude, Kovalcikova uses paint as a tool for an introspective examining of the body, her works directly referencing sixteenth to nineteenth century paintings.
Slovakian born painter Stanislava Kovalcikova montages figures in boundless scenes suggestive of recurring nightmares, their ghost-like features fixed in pastel and oil bars. Drawn to the techniques of the Old Masters and using a palette of umber, crimson and jade, Kovalcikova’s canvases reference the canonical paintings of Giorgione, Titian, Velasquez – her subjects’ longing gazes offer a similar mystique to the Renaissance muses. Quite often her protagonists are looking away – rarely at the observer, and each at something different – their haunting expressions suggestive of our dual personalities and inner demons, too. A recurring theme of Kovalcikova’s paintings is how perceptions and representations of the female body – and, less particularly, of women – have shifted over time. While echoing Manet’s Olympia and Bonnard’s bather, her eye is drawn to portraying women with a much more complex curiosity which tackles motherhood, pregnancy and beauty.
Kovalcikova’s paintings merge distinctive textures of palette knife smudges, gold leaf dustings and washes of turpentine to build up layers on the surface that dry to look as if they've been eroded by time, like the patina of copper. With the appearance of collage, Kovalcikova's mingling of people moulders on the surface, facial characteristics melting away by her repeated sanding of the canvas while residues of a haunted smirk, or grimace appear underneath. Completed over long periods using found pigments and old mixtures, her paintings often don’t leave the studio until they've had three years of perusing and refinement. Writer Joan Didion sleeps with her books before they are published – for Kovalcikova, painting is as intimate as a night's sleep and she frequently permits the characters that emerge in her subconscious to reappear, their familiarity stiffened in oil.
Venue: MAMOTH - The first-floor viewing room, 3 Endsleigh Street, WC1H 0DS, London
The exhibition Cautionary Tales by Stanislava Kovalcikova is now on view. The gallery opens by appointment from June 16th. A limited number of visitors will be allowed in the gallery; we, therefore, ask you to have patience if the waiting time arises on certain occasions. Please visit MAMOTH website: www.mamoth.co.uk or follow @_mamoth_ on social media for up to date information.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org in advance to arrange your visit.