Focusing on this week’s exhibiting artist Maja Vrzina, we had a chat with her to find out a bit more about her inspiration and influences as well as her future plans. Her exhibition XXXIX will be on display until Sunday, 29th September.

The Lovers by Maja Vrzina

The Lovers by Maja Vrzina

What is your main source of inspiration for the XXXIX exhibition?  My main source of inspiration is my life, all 39 years so far, starting from early childhood, through the civil war in Yugoslavia to moving to London, in which I have experienced pain and ecstasy, hope and despair, love and great loss.

How do your paintings narrate your personal stories and struggles?  My life has always been about extremes, an emotional and psychological roller coaster, in other words no shades of grey. Everything that I feel is black or white. This translates into my paintings which start out as large white canvases before I apply the black ink or acrylic, slowly revealing my subject matter; be it capturing the essence of a love affair, trying to understand the violence I was subjected to in my home country, imagining a life that might have been or celebrating the inner strength I see in women.

What is the  role of gold in your work and how does it strengthens your paintings? Gold has always been used, since the time of Ancient Egyptians, to adorn those things we hold precious. The gold leaf frames have both a symbolic role and an aesthetic role in my work. I use gold leaf frames by way of celebrating and glorifying the subject matter and giving my paintings an emotional and visual depth.

Which artists inspire you the most and how do they influence your work? The artists that inspire me are not necessarily painters or sculptors but people in whom I see great strength, honesty, independence and energy and who are courageous and passionate about how they see the world and what they stand for, for example Patti Smith and The Clash.

Tell us about your ideas for your next project. Do you intend on keeping the same artistic character or would you like to explore different qualities in your artworks?  In my next body of work I’d like to move from the autobiographical to the biographical and explore the lives and struggles of others who have inspired me. The relationship between frame and painting is also something I am looking to explore further by blurring the lines between the two. From a technical point of view I want to experiment with gilding and discover how I can use this in the most powerful way possible to express myself.


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